This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on Hbrary shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.
It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.
Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.
Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we liave taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.
We also ask that you:
+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.
+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.
+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.
+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe.
About Google Book Search
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web
at |http : //books . google . com/|
1^ /i'<nitjiiiiiiiiiiniiiL::i' '
I I '
f s nx^ #»:
THE QUESTION OF PUTTING UPON.
<*a 4 #
J M ^
"* ■* -tm > ,
. ' : V
(. il.^ k [.•»■] i L
s' ;- '"^
U. M ■ J I
\'s m)s i's:
TIfE QUEST/ON OF PUTTING UPON
CHARLOTTE M. YONGE,
MACMILLAN AND CO.
i! Righl of Trmslalion amt Riproduili,
PALMER-WORM PARK I
THE QUINTALLS 9
QUACK COMMON . . ? > . l8
',. \ » • .li- ». "
P. AND P •••••• 77
Q IN THE CORNER 88
POOR PERSIS 97
QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE Io6
POST-OFFICE REVELATIONS II4
QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE 1 27
POISONING A HOLIDAY . I37
THE QUAY 4 . - . . 145
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PALMER-WORM PARK • Front,
PAULINA HIDING THE LETTER Vignette.
Paulina's grief at being left at home 39
BLESS me, if it IS NOT MISS PAULINA !"..'... 67
PAULINA AND ALINE IN THE GARDEN ICO
"I'll thank you not to meddle in my affairs again 1" 139
* f *■ ■■■
.; c. *
's m)i ll's;
l^HE QUESTION OF PUTTING UPON.
CH APTEE L
FoUB roofs sloping down together left in the midst
a small space a little more than a yard square,
and somewhat enlarged by an attic window opening
upon it from one of the roofs. On the lead which
covered the said flat space stood various flower-
pots and boxes filled with earth, and with a
framework covered with muslin or net stretched
over them. Among them knelt a girl of thirteen,
big, dark, rosy, the wind playing with her immense
bush of black, rather rusty hair, as with a brown
hoUand apron over her morning frock, and the frame
removed from one of the pots, she was busied in
removing with a camel's hair bnish, certain green,
yellow-banded caterpillars from a withered oak
branch to a fresh one, talking to them in no very
civil terms as she did so : " You horrid little plague,
come along! What do you stick so fast for!
Have you lost your appetite? Tou can't live on
camel's hair, you know ! Off with you ! You goose,
you I Don't you know if you go climbing you'll
find nothing but slates, and the swallows will
swallow you, and there'll be an end of you ! Come
along, you sulky thing! Get on the brush, I
say ; I won't have any tricks. Curling yourself in a
ball, indeed. Tumbling down! No! Keep your
spinning for your cocoon. Don't waste it that way,
I say — Wah ! I shall pinch you ! Oh, dear !
Horace ought to give me the first silk gown off
you, when he's made his fortune!"
" Paula 1" called a voice below in the room.
'* Well, what ? "
**Miss lillywhite's come."
••Oh, bother! I can't come. I'm doing the
i:] PALMER- WORM PARK.
"But Persis sent me."
" Bother Persis ! Get upon your leaf, you nasty
^' But Elspeth said she couldn't have you always
late for lessons."
''Bother Elspeth I You made that one tumble
down! Here, come up and help me, Alie."
"But, Paulina, Elspeth said she couldn't have
Miss liUywhite kept waiting."
**She must, then. Pm not going to starve all
Horace's Fernii to please her 1 Lilly may . hear
the little ones ^There's a brush for you."
" But Elspeth hears them," said the younger
sister, who nevertheless had obeyed, standing on
a chair, with her legs within the window, and
her body and head out, a lighter, paler head
than Paulina's, with brown hair and eyes.
" Nobody asked her," was Paulina's reply. " Here,
you take and do this branch — carefully, mind.'*
Pemii — or, more properly, Bomhyx Pemii — is, it
should be observed, the name of a large kind of
silkworm, which lives upon oak leaves, and spins
a handsome green cocoon. Some eggs had been
entrusted to Horace Quintall, and were to be the
4 ON THE QUADRANGLE. [chap.
foundation of his fortune — only^ as he was at
school himself, the care had to be left to his sis-
ters. To shift small green caterpillars from one
oak4eaf to another may not be in itself the
most delightful occupation in life, but at any
rate it is so far preferable to lessons, that
Aline was much readier than she would have
been half an hour ago to assist Paulina in the
'*How they crawl! Have they changed their
"Tes, and eaten them up."
" I say ! How many there are to do I Won't Miss
Lillywhite be in a way?"
"Never mind. There's plenty of time for our
lessons; and as long as there's that, she has no
right to complain. She never used before Sisters
came home, and I won't be on my P's and Q's to
please their fidgets. I wonder they haven't called
" Ah ! she's talking to Sisters," said Aline.
« Talking ! What about ?" said Paulina, with a
jerk, as if she disliked the notion.
" About all sorts of things. She was telling them
I.] PALMER-WORM PARK, 5
about Horace going to Prince's Quay last year, to
"What business had she to tell them about
" It is very cross of her; but she did begin some-
thing about the regatta, and she thought they
ought to know "
" Now I do declare that's sneaking and spiteful !"
cried Paulina, stamping her foot on the hard black
leaden roof, so that the pots and glasses rang.
"What has she got to do with Horace? Til pay
her out! What more?"
"I don't know. They sent me away to look for
" Aye, to have their plot out ! But I'll be even
with them. I won't have Horace put upon and
hindered of his pleasures."
" You know Mrs. Peterson did make a great fuss
"I know she did, old cross patch. What busi-
ness had she poking in her nose and worrying?
He should go, if it was only to give her a lesson."
" Papa didn't know about it."
" No, of course not. Who was going to be such a
6 PERSIS. [chap.
sneak as to tell him what the Petersons and all
the lot of them might choose to make np? Take
care, Alio ; you'll let that one drop *'
Aline did let it drop, giving a great start as a
step was heard on the floor behind, and a dear,
quiet voice said, "Are you here, Aline Paula?"
Yes, changing the Pemii," called back Paulina.
Oh, those silkworms ! Can't they be done at
any other time ?"
" No," said Paulina, in a displeased tone ; " their
boughs die, and that would kill them."
"Then I think you ought to begin earlier in the
day. Have you nearly done? Perhaps I could
help you, and then you could get down by the time
Olive has finished her scales."
"Oh do, Persis dear," cried Aline, crawling through
the window out upon the roof to make way for her,
though not without a gruff growl of warning from
Paulina that she would upset all the pots, and that
there was not another brush.
However, there appeared through the window the
head and shoulders of another young lady, not un-
like Aline, only grown up, and with the soft brown
hair coiled round her head instead of flying loose.
I. ] PALMER' WORM PARK. 7
" Are there many more ? I could help you through
them/' she said, as she mounted the chair; and
though neither girl gave uj» the brush to her, she
managed so well with leaves and fingers, that the
sulkiest green caterpillars crawled where they ought
as she coaxed them : " Come, my finger can't be half
80 nice as that fresh oak! There! On the edga
Put them on the edges and under side, Alie ; they
like that best. Here, my pretty green fellow !"
Paulina thawed and brightened again as the
Pemii began to accept their new lodgment; and
when Persis offered to come and help for half an
hour before breakfast, she agreed to it thankfully,
feeling that Persis was as well convinced as herself
that no trouble was too great to be taken on behalf
of Horace, their only boy.
She even had a great- mind to ask Persis about
Aline's story of Miss Lilly white's tales, but she had
a natural distrust of all grown-up people, and she
could never quite tell whether to count Persis as
belonging to her own side or to that of — should she
call it the enemy ? And before the self-debate was
over, another voice was heard —
" Children — ^Paulina ! Aline ! Where have you
8 QUICK! [CHAP. 1.
hidden yourgelres? Miss lillywhite is waiting!
Fersis ! — ^what, you here too ? All come up like the
family in dU Idugt Else t "
** Here's die Muge Else herself/' said Persis, making
them all laugh. "No, we aren't weeping, Elsie;
we're only in Palmer-worm Park, doing Horace's
maggots ! '\i\ e ve all but done."
" It must not be done in lesson-time," said the
clear, resolute voice from within — not sharply or
unkindly, but with a sound as if it would be
" Only this once. Tou see it's a matter of life
and death to the worms. We are going to have a
spell at them before breakfast in future."
** Only don't catch cold, Persis. Make haste, now ;
and remember, Paulina, lesson-time must not be
encroached upon again. It is not right by Papa or
by Miss Lillywnite."
There was a very grey cloud over Paulina's face
as she shook her head with a toss backwards, and
muttered something that Persis did not choose to
Mr. Qointall was one of the partners in the
Peterskirk Bank, and lived in an old brick house,
' with a large walled garden and paddock, a little
way out of the town, just so far that Miss Lillywhite
always went and came by the omnibus; and he
did the same on wet days.
Elspeth and Persis were the children of his
first wife, who had died when they were almost
babies, and their grandmother, Mrs. Trefusis, had
taken them to her home at Kew, where they had
lived with her and their aunts through all their
childhood, only making visits at home every year.
Paulina, Horace, Aline, and the two little ones,
Olive and Clare, were the children of the second
wife. She had had a great deal of bad health,
and died just as Paulina was thirteen. The children
were still in mourning for her, and sometimes
lO THE KEW SISTERS, [chap.
thought sorrowfully of "poor Mamma," but she
had never been able to do much for them, and
they did not miss her as many children would miss
At the time of her death Elspeth and Persis
had been in the South of France. Their grand-
mother had lately died, and one of their aunts had
been so much worn out by nursing her, as to have
to go abroad for her health, taking them with her.
They offered to come home to their father at once ;
but as Persis was rather delicate, and a winter
abroad was very good for her, Mr. Quintall would
not consent to this, though he accepted their pro-
posal to return in the spring and take care of the
house and of their brother and sisters.
In their visits they had always shown themselves
very kind sisters. They had played witji the younger
ones, told them stories, described sights in London,
— yes, and even had Paulina to stay at Kew twice,
and Horace once, for a week together, and shown
everything to them; nor did they ever forget to
send charming letters and presents on the birthdays.
So the younger ones had all looked forward to their
return — Paulina especially. She was a sensible girl.
II.] THE QUINTALLS, 1 1
and felt that things were not going on well, and
that they ought to be set to rights ; while, if she
tried to do so, it always ended in a quarrel with
one or other of the servants, generally in their
teasing her about the fine times she would have
when her half-sisters came. Then she would not
lord it about the house, and be Miss Quintall. She
would soon find the difference, and have to take
care of her Fs and Q's.
Even Paulina's cousins, the Proudfoots, who lived
in the country, pitied her, and seemed to think she
would be a sort of Cinderella. They told her that
Elspeth and Persis were stuck-up fine ladies, grand
and scornful, and that this was the reason that her
own mamma would never let them live at home.
But Paulina did not think much of Henrietta and
Georgina Proudfoot : they had never been very nice
girls, and she was pleased to belong to sisters whom
she could believe superior to anyone in Peterskirk,
certainly equal in look and style even to Miss Poins,
the daughter of the principal partner, who had a
No, she was not a bit afraid of them. They
were her own dear big beautiful sisters, real ladies;
1 2 PROUDFOOT OPimONS. [chap.
and people might talk of Fs and Q's as much as
they pleased, she knew she should be happj with
And was she ? It was six weeks since their first
coming, and it no longer seemed as if they were
company. Were Henny and Georgie Proudfoot
Paulina had stood by " Sisters " with all her
might in the great battle with Emma the house-
maid, who had flatly refused to exert herself to get
the drawing-room into a state to sit in every day.
" She had never been used to it," for Mrs. Quintal!,
when she did come down stairs, used to sit in the
dining-room and keep the drawing-room blinded
and swathed up. That battle-royal, and one or two
more, had ended in Emma's going away, with some
very strong language as to Miss Paulina's ingratitude
in worshipping the rising sun, and hopes that she
would repent it
Nay, Paulina had endured, and very reasonably,
the having the canary-birds' cages, with all theu*
apparatus of newspaper, turned out of the sunny
window in the dining-room. Perhaps she bore it
all the better because Aline went into fits of crying
II.] THE QUINTALLS. 1 3
at the banishment of her dear little Dick. But it
went hard with her when Elspeth objected to having
Ponto fed indoors. Ponto was Horace's dog, and
any interference with Horace's concerns was not to
Horace was at school about three miles off on the
other side of Peterskirk, but he came home from
Saturday to Monday, and Saturday afternoons were
the happy times of his sisters' life — at least so they
thought from Monday morning till Saturday noon,
and then — ^however it was with Paulina, Aline's
happiness was not ciuUe so certain a thing. In-
deed, the way the sisters behaved about Aline was
one of the things that was doing most to change
Paulina's views about them.
Was not Aline a stupid, fretful little thing, apt to
cry for nothing ? And what business had Persis to
come flying down with her cheeks in a flame to
spoil Horace's amusement, when he was only just
exploding a few caps to teach the child to stand fire ?
"Why should Elspeth interfere when he rubbed out
the sum that had just been finished, to teach her
not to be such a dawdle ? Horrid little thing, she
had found it put too, or why did she not bear her
14 PRESAGES. [chap.
tortures meekly, as she ought to do, and always had
done hitherto, but cry and roar till " Sisters " came
down to scold poor Horace, and carry her off to
Nay, had not Elspeth even pronounced that Aline
would play the best, if Paulina did not take more
pains? It was plain that they were making a fa-
vourite, and that was very unjust and unfair, not
to be borne or submitted to for a moment ! Nurse
herself, and Miss liUywhite, like aU former gover-
nesses, were always blaming Aline for whining and
being idle, and was aU this to be turned ujside
down, and the child only coaxed when she was
Then poor little Clare, who used to play all day
in peace, was caught and pinned down in the morn-
ing to learn to read, instead of only saying the names
of a few letters when she pleased 1 And if she re-
fused, these cruel sisters would even put her in the
comer ! It all came into Paulina's head now as she
chajiged the Pemii, and she began to say to herself,
" If I had only known, I'd never have been so glad
to see them! Yes, I see how it is — just as Henny
said — ^pretending to be m'ce at first, till they have
11.] THE (^UINTALLS. \ 5
wormed themselves in, and then setting Papa against
us poor children. But 111 bo even with them, that
I will, and Horace shan't miss the regatta/*
But when Persis so good-humouredly showed her
the last green caterpillar on his fresh leaf, she quite
started at the break into her thoughts, and the
start blew away a great many of them. Nay, when
Persis looked round at Horace's room, to which the
window belonged, and wondered whether a cabinet
for his bird's-eggs would not please him for his next
birthday present, she began to forget what enemies
her sisters were.
After all. Aline had only heard a little of what
Miss Lillywhite was saying, and everybody knew
that Aline's versions of a story were not to be de-
pended upon. Paulina never did believe them unless
she wanted to have a grievance. The story of the
last regatta, as far as Paulina knew it, was this : —
These boat-races took place at Prince's Quay, a place
about nine miles from Peterskirk, upon the 26th of
June, the Coronation-day, which was always a holi-
day at Horace's school, and it was the custom of the
boys to make up parties, and go down by railway in
the morning and return in the evening.
1 6 PAPA. [chap.
The very carefully-brought-up boys, such as the
clergyman's sous> the Browns — ^whose mother was a
very strict widow— and one or two more, never
went ; but it was the young people's fashion to pity
them very much, and call their parents very unkind,
and nobody had ever made any objection to Horace's
joining the party.
Last year all the younger population knew that
the set Horace had gone with had got into a great
scrape. Tom Drake, one of the seniors, had come
back with two undeniable black eyes, which he had
had in a fight with a sailor-boy ; all the rest seemed
to have had something that was not at all good for
them, and tumbled upstairs and into bed somehow.
Most had very bad headaches the next day, and
some fathers were reported to have declared they
would never let their sons go again; but as one or
other said so every summer and always forgot it the
next, this did not much trouble anyone.
Mr. Quintall was always a busy man. He had
much more to do with the management of the bank
than Mr. Poins, and was often at work beyond office
hours. Then he went to the reading-room, or out
riding, and never came home till late. When his
II.] THE QUINTALLS, 1 7
wife had been tolerably weU, lie would take her out
for a drive, and he used to sit with her in the even-
ing ; but the children were very little with him, and
scarcely knew him. He had been less with them
than ever since their mother's death, and had no
notion of telling or asking him anything.
Yet, sincQ Elspeth and Persia had come home,
they had seen more of him. He sat in the drawing-
room in the evening, and liked their music, though
he generally went to sleep, and he talked more than
of lata Paulina heard people say that he was
recovering his spirits, and that his daughters were
doing him a great deal of good. It is not quite
certain that this delighted Paulina as much as it
ought to have done. She did not like to think her
half-sisters were brightening the home more than
she could have done — nay, perhaps than her own
Mamma. She felt cross over it.
'* The Pemii are quite well, Horace."
" Persis comes up and helps us change them every
«AU right! Look here, P0U7."
" What a horrid looking thing, and how it smells.
What is it?"
*' Fancy your not knowing! It's a great moth
" How did you get him ? "
"Oh! a fellow got it and didn't want it, and I
swapped my umbrella for it, because he'd broken
"HLs umbrella's nose, stupid, trying to poke out
a woodpecker's nest."
"But what will you do for an umbrella?"
CHAP. III.] QUACK COMMON. 1 9
"Oh! I've got his; 'tis just as much use, you
see, and they were just alike at first, only hia
father is a Turk, and would blow him up no end,
for it is the fourth hv/mherella that he has come
to grief with this term."
''And you traded on greater endurance?** said
Elspeth, looking up from her drawing.
" I knew you were a jolly old sis," said Horace
with a hug.
"And that creature," asked Persis; "I hope he is
to go out on the leads."
" Oh yes, only I must take him in in the winter.
He lives in wood, and he'll eat for a year or two,
and then change."
"And will he go on smelling all that time?"
asked Aline disconsolately.
"Or being smelt," put in Elspeth.
"Well, I don't think he's at aU nasty," Paulina'^
general spirit of opposition tempted her to say.
"Polly shall have him put in a bottle and carry
him round her neck for a scent," cried Horaca
" Luckily that wouldn't agree with him any more
than with us," said Elspeth. " Come, take him away
to Palmer Park, Horace, there's a good boy."
20 QUALMS, [chap.
"Wouldn't you like one more good sniff?" quoth
Horace, holding the box with the disgusting red
animal close to her nose ; an infliction which Elspeth
bore with lalughing good humour, for she was ex-
ceedingly fond of her only brother, but she defended
Persis from the like. "No, no, Horace; don't. Persie
can't stand so much as I can. Gpake the monster
away; he'll make her faint."
And still merrily, though resolutely, Elspeth sailed
along between Horace and Persis, with whom Aline
had taken refuge, defending them with outspread
dress from the raid which the boy showed himself
ready to attempt.
He ran laughing upstairs, Paulina keeping close
behind him. " Elsie always makes such a fuss about
Persie ! " she said.
"Well, Persie is a tender piece of goods, ain't
she ? " said Horace.
" I don't see it ; and Alie is getting affected, and
will be just as bad, and they encourage her in it."
« Holloa ! what's the row ? "
"Why, just fancy — ^Elspeth came out quite angry
because I had taken the candle and left Alie in
the darky and she chose to set up one of her roarings !
in. ] QUACK COMMON. 2 1
A great girl like that ! If it had been little Clare it
would have been absurd enough ; but Persis coaxed
her and petted her just as if she had been
a baby. It is quite true, Horace ; they are making a
"Holloa! I wonder if this privet-hawk wants to
change," said Horace, kneeling on the leads, and
caring a great deal more for the fat green cater-
pillar striped with purple and white, and with a
horn on his tail, than for home affairs.
"Oh no, he's not half big enough. And,
Horace — "
"I don't see the lackey."
"I think he is shrivelling up to nothing."
"Oh! hurrah! these black fellows of the Eed
Admiral are jolly."
" There again ! Persis never lets Aline gather the
nettles for them; she always does it herself."
"That's rather joUy of her."
"Only it is spoiling Aline."
" Then I'll unspoil her. I say, what a famous net
frame this is ! I'U be bound Persis made that."
" Well, she did, — at least I helped 1 But do you
know^i Horace "
2 2 PAPILIOMANIA. [chap.
" Oh, Polly I" he interrupted, for as a general rule
people are always much more eager to teU their
own news than to hear other people's, "Harding
says one can get silver-washed fritillaries by the
dozen on Quack Common I I must get over there
as soon as ever there's a holiday. Would there be
time on a Saturday?'*
•* Hardly, if you walked. But, Horace, I was
going to tell you, that horrid lilly has been at
Sisters about the Regatta day, and you're to be
prevented from going to Prince's Quay."
"Eh! That's meanness of the last description,"
said Horace, but with a careless tone that did
not fit the strong voice. " Did you hear father say
" No, but Alie heard Sisters and Miss Lillywhite
" Oh ! if it is only Alie — Besides, I don't know
whether I shouldn't go after the silver-washed,"
said the butterfly-mad* boy.
"You won't be allowed to go anywhere," said
Paulina, half provoked at not being able to get up
a hardship. *VMrs. Hill, and Mr. Cunard, and all
the rest of the cross ones, will ask Mr. Quick not
III.] QUACK COMMON, 23
to give a holiday, and Elspeth will go and put up
Fapa to do the same."
What made Paulina talk in this way it is really
difficult to teU, but when people have begun to get
up a nice little grievance, it is provoking not to
have it perceived or made much of by other people.
She succeeded so far as to make Horace say, " She'd
be an imcommon cross toad if she did then." But it
was spoken in an absent sort of way ; he was counting
his oak-eating silkworms all the time.
•* It would be very cross I quite unjustifiable. You
have always had a holiday, and TU not see you
cheated of it. I know how Til manage."
"All right," said Horace; "only don't upset that
Horace had a great deal of faith in Paulina ; she
was a year older than he, and, from having been
much with her Mamma, was a good deal older in
mind and ways, and she had often begged him off
in scrapes, and obtained pleasures for him. He
knew his cause was safe in her hands, and, so far
as he cared about it at all, felt secure; but it was
only too plain that what nurse called "they nasty
palmers" were far nearer his heart than all the boats.
24 PROVOKING! [CHAP. Iii.
in the legatta. So long as he had his holiday he
did not heed whether he went to Prince's Quay
or not ; in fact^ as he was not likely to meet any
butterflies, moths, or caterpillars there, he did not
by any means feel called in that direction.
Kever was there a more unpromising grievaxu^e 1
Might not Horace be more safe and as happy with-
out the Prince's Quay Begatta?
That thought was borne in upon Paulina's mind
when she awoke early on Sunday morning with the
sun peeping pleasantly in behind the blinds. As-
suredly Elspeth and Persis would say so, and the
better self urged that it woidd be a sad thing to let
him run into the way of temptation. But then it
would be giving in; it would be letting oneself be
put upon; it would be allowing the Sisters once to
begin, and then there was no knowing when they
would stop. Horace would be deprived of all his
pleasures, and they would be as duU and stupid as
the Airlies. Yes, but suppose he did get into mischief I
Knock. "Yes, Susan."
Enter Susan to draw up the blinds.
26 PILLOWS. [CHAP.
•* Seven o'clock, Miss Paulina."
Oh ! very well," in a sleepy voice.
Your sisters are getting up. Miss Paulina. It is
''Don't bother about my sisters, Susan; I shall be
Now Elspeth and Persis liked to go to the early
service at St. Paul's Church — ^the new one — at half-
past seven, and they trusted to Paulina to be down-
stairs, make the tea, and have things ready so that
their father, who generally came down at a quarter
to nine on a Sunday morning, might find everything
in order, even if they should be a few minutes late.
They had asked her kindly, and she had been
pleased, and had always hitherto been quite in
time, but Susan's interruption somehow vexed her.
''Making me get up early to do their work," said
she to herself. " Why can't they stay at home ? I
don't like being put upon ! I'll get up presently —
there's lots of time."
However, lots of time have an unaccountable
manner of slipping away when one has a soft pillow,
and the next thing Paulina was sure of was Susan
at the door. " Miss Paula I Miss Paula I There ! I
IV.] PETS. 2 J
told you so. Asleep again ! Oh, dear ! it is half-
past eight o'clock!"
"I shall be ready quite in time," said Paulina,
defiantly jumping up, recollecting that in old times
she should hardly have viewed this as being late.
A great scurry she had ; but hastily washed, hastily
brushed, and what was worse, with hastily gabbled
prayers, hurried over after she had heard her father's
step on the stairs, she ran down the broad old stair,
just as Elspeth, with her bonnet on, was making the
tea, and her father blaming her with some sharpness
for not being content to stay at home, but running
about to strange churches, breaking up all the hours
of the family.
** I am afraid we are later than usual. Papa," said
Elspeth. " Oh, Paula ! did not you make the tea?"
Paulina felt angry at the reproachful tone. " It'si
not my business now," she answered pertly.
« The chnd is right," said Mr. Quintall. « Duties
you have taken on yourself are not to be put off on
her whenever you choose to leave them. I'll have
no more of this gadding about before breakfast."
" Oh, Papa ! " exclaimed Persis, who had already
a great tear on each cheek.
28 ST. PAUVS, [CHAP.
"No, indeed! It is too much for you already.
You are knocked up for the day. Elspeth should
have known better/*
" Indeed, Papa"
"Nonsense! Don't I see her made almost hys-
terical ? It is just the self-willed foolish way young
women act ! Now listen, both of you. Since nothing
else will do, I forbid you to be running ofiT to St.
Paul's in this wild manner, as if your parish church
was not good enough for you. Do you hear?"
" Yes, Papa,** said Elspeth, looking up ; " but per-
haps you do not quite know what a privation this
would be to us."
"I know that what sufficed for your mother —
ay, and mine before her, good women as ever
lived — ^may suffice for you, and I will have it so."
By this time Aline, frightened at her father's
loud voice and at Persis' silent choking and strug-
gling with tears, began to sob, and that put an
end to it. " Never mind, my little Aline," said her
father ; " hush ! nobody is angr/ with you ;" and
he heaped her plate with marmalade.
To see the elder sisters blamed was certainly new
and wonderful, and on the whole it is to be feared
IV.] PETS. ^9
that Paulina was rather entertained ; and certainly,,
whatever twinge she felt, she did not choose to think
herself guCty of having caused it all by not having
come down in time to make the preparations. At
least she so entirely expected to be blamed, that she
had got her defence ready, and was quite determined
not to care.
Horace had drummed on the end of the table
with the handle of his knife all the time it was
going on, but now that Aline was pacified, Persis
carried off her own bonnet and Elspeth's, and
presently returned with somewhat red eyes ; but as
Mr. Quintall began to talk as usual, the two daughters
answered him, and the breakfast went on as if the
subject was over.
Then Horace eagerly claimed Persis's assistance
in Palmer-worm Park, and away she went, followed
by Aline, with a little hand stealing into hers.
Horace was perhaps extra civil in helping Perds
through the window, and, when he saw her anxious
about her crape, getting a chair for her to sit upon
in moderate cleanliness ; and he made a great deal
of fun, to which she responded brightly, and wholly
amused by the sight of the beautiful cocoon which
30 PATIENCE, [CHAP.
.the hopdog was spinning — ^a delicate apple-green
fellow, with white tooth-brush tufts down his back,
black velvet slashings visible as he crawled, and a
rose-coloured feather in his tail He had got into
a comer of his box, had constructed a framework
of silk, in the midst of which he was standing
upright, waving his head from side to side as he
produced from his mouth the sUk with which he
was enveloping himself in a sort of cloud.
Horace declared he was just as good as a real
silkworm, and that he would wind off the hopdog
cocoons and get them woven, — ^they would be a new
sort of silk, and he would take out a patent for them :
all the ladies should be wearing "hopdoggia*' dresses.
Paulina, hearing Persis laugh, thought the trouble of
the morning quite got over, but little Aline had a
tenderer heait, understood that the laugh was not
quite free, and, when Persis went to wash her hands
and prepare for church, followed her to her room,
and tried to show her fellow-feeling by saying,
" Papa was so cross." '' Never say that again. Aline,"
was Persis' answer, as angrily as Persis could speak,
"Papa has reasons, and says what he thinksj
IV.] PETS, 31
"And shall you never go to St. Paul's before
breakfast again?'' asked Aline,
" I don't know/' — and the voice quivered. *' We
must try to do what is right. Now, Ali Baba dear,
run away, or your boots will never be laced in time."
Aline knew that there was a full quarter of an
hour before her, but she had the sense to perceive
that Persis wanted to be alone, and went off as she
was desired. When little girls will do a thing like
this, they show tact and consideration, and grown
people are very much obliged to them. The whole
family met to walk to St. Peter's, through a mile of
closed shops, only meeting girls here and there carry-
ing out dinners to the bakers'.
At this, the old church, Paulina thought it rather
a distinction to have one of the square pews, with
a green curtain on a rod on the outer side of it.
Everyone had been used to kneel with elbows on
the seat, and head against the sides of the pew;
but though Elspeth and Persis interfered with
nobody, they did not turn round, but knelt upright
on the floor, leaning against nothing. Aline had
once asked why, and Elspeth had said that they
thought this way more reverent than crawling
32 PEW-SPORTS. [CHAF.
on the elbows: and Aline then observed that her
Papa was always upright, and never leant as the
children did. However, Paulina did not choose to
take her head out of her favourite comer! it was
a great deal too comfortable to be given up, and
therefore she said it was all nonsense, and that she
would not see Alie affected and changeable.
Horace's place was in the middle of the side,
against the wall of the church, where he had a
delightful knot-hole full of dust — a perfect preserve
of curiosities, which seemed to fill up fresh every
week ; however, he routed it out every Sunday. On
this day he foimd a fine fat spider, and was holding
the end of its line, intending to let it lower itself
down upon the black stocking that swelled smoothly
above Aline's boot before it was hidden by her little
But his manoeuvre was perceived by Elspeth, who,
being out of reach herself, touched her father, and he
I'eached out and put a sudden stop to the proceeding
by a summary blow on Horace's ears with his prayer-
book — making him drop the spider and subside sud-
denly, hiding his face on the pillow of his twisted
arms. Paulina's blood boiled. Bather than inter-
IV.] PETS, 33
fere with Horace's little amusements, her own calves
should have been the promenade of stag-beetles, ear-
wigs, hornets, if he pleased. To set Papa upon him,
that was beyond all endurance. No doubt this way
of kneeling was to axjt spies on them all ! That was
the way Paulina said the Litany.
"Wasn't it an abominable shame?" she said, as
soon as she could get to Horace's side after church.
"Eh — ^what?" asked Horace, who had quite for-
gotten all about it.
"That great knock she made Papa give you at
He laughed, "That! who cares for a little bit
of a whack like that? If you want to know what
a real stinger is, I'll show you."
Paulina had no desire for such an experience, but
it seemed strange to take a blow from a father so
lightly, and in fact some boys would have been far
more grieved — some angry and resentful ; but Horace
was a bright, careless fellow, on whom no vexation
ever sat long.
They sat on Paulina in his stead. It might have
been thought that she was the one who had been
punished, by her gloomy face all dinner-time, while
34 PERVERSENESS, [chap.
Horace chattered and laughed as he only of all the
young ones seemed able to do in Papa's company.
Hitherto it had been the custom to take a country
walk immediately after dinner, and have the Sunday
Catechism, sayiug of hymns, and reading, after coming
in ; but on this day it was so bright and hot that
Ekpeth and Persis decided that from henceforth,
while summer lasted, it would be best to have the
Sunday occupations first, and the walk after, — a very
reasonable plan, as Paulina would have seen if she
had not been just in that captious state of mind
which cannot endure any change.
No, it was not too hot to walk — they always did
walk after dinner: nobody could learn just after
dinner ; it was very unkind — it was impossible.
Whether impossible or not, she thought it so ; and
a sort of stupidity — that was not unlike that of the
deaf adder we are told of in the Bible — came over
her mind and memory, and made her blunder over
the answers in the Catechism, so that Horace laughed
outright, and it was very painful to her sisters'
sense of reverence.
They were glad to set her to work where she
would not disturb others, namely, to looking out and
copying texts as references to the Catechism — a
work which she had done with interest and enjoy-
ment for the last four or five Sundays ; but on
which, in her present mood, she would not bestow
the slightest pains or attention.
Meantime Persis had done two verses of Greek
Testament, and read a chapter of the "Kings of
Judah" with Horace. She always had to go through
his yawning and growling at the beginning, and
calling it a great bore not to be let alone on Sunday,
like other fellows; but when he had once fairly
started, he always grew interested ; and he had foimd
that when, on Friday, a lesson in religious know-
ledge was given, he knew much more about it than
the other fellows.
Elspeth had the two little girls teaching them
by word of mouth, while Aline learnt the collect
and a hymn, and then letting them play or look at
pictures while Aline had a little lesson on what she
All went well till Elspeth came to look at Paulina's
copy-book. The handwriting and spelling were such
as people of thirteen can do when they are cross.
Moreover, when the ill-written words were read, they
36 QUESTIONS, [CHAP.
had not the most distant connection with the subject
in hand. The reference to the Second Epistle of St.
John had been looked out by Paulina in the second
chapter of the Gospel, and so she had set down a
verse about the marriage of Cana in Galilee, without
troubling herself for a moment to consider whether
it could possibly apply. And when Elspeth pointed
it out, she answered glumly, " It was in the book,
Elspeth was really angry. She had been taught
so early to find out references that they came as
easily to her as the alphabet, and perhaps she did
not quite know how puzzling they might be to a
beginner ; but the senselessness and inattention pro-
voked her greatly.
"This is too bad!" she said. ''Could you not
think for one moment, instead of making a holy
subject almost absurd?"
" It was in the book," doggedly repeated Paulina.
Then Elspeth looked, but her anger was not
lessened. *' That is no excuse ! If you had cared
in the least for what you were about, could you
not have asked Persis or me ? Besides, here's a
word left out ! And how do you spell corUrUion ?
IV.] PETS. 37
No, Paulina, this will not do. You must write
that page over again, fit to be seen, instead of
Persis, who was explaining a picture to little
Clare, exclaimed, " Oh, Elsie, please ! we never had
punishments on Sundays."
" I am very sorry, as sorry as you or Paula can
be," returned Elspeth gravely ; " but such carelessness
and temper, especially on such a subject, cannot be
passed over. It would not be right to take her out
to enjoy herselt"
Perhaps Persis recollected that it was not well to
interfere with her sister's rule, for she said no more ;
only she lingered when the others were going to put
on their hats, and said, " Make haste, Paula ; if you
write all you can, and very nicely, and show it to
Elsie when she comes down, very likely she . will
wait for you and let you come."
" I don't want to come with her," muttered Pau-
lina, and her head went down between her elbows
ab Horace's had done at church, so that nothing
was to be seen save her black bush of hair; and
when Persis smoothed it, she shook the hand oflf
with a pettish jerk, but then felt aggrieved and
38 PENANCE. [CHAP.
angry when Persis moved quietly away, only first
putting a fresh, pen near her, in case any of the
blame of the bad writing should have been due to
the old one.
There she remained with her head between her
elbows, till she heard them clattering downstairs,
and Ponto's joyous bark as Horace was unchaining
him. Then she heard Elspeth go to the study
door. To tell of her ! Horridest sister ! No : " Papa,
we are going out ; won't you come ? "
The answer could not be heard, but it must have
been something about meeting them, for Elspeth
returned, " We will come back by the avenue. Pray
do ; it is getting very pleasant."
The feet ceased to be heard in the hall, the front
door was closed, and a last echo of merry voices
came through the window. "There they are, all
gone out to enjoy themselves," said Paulina to
herself ; " and here am I left to mope at home, just
because Elspeth takes a fancy to make us do stupid
things on Sunday when we can't. I thought Sunday
was meant for a holiday. Elspeth hasn't got a bit
of right to spoil it with tiresome stupid lessons —
when one has done them already, too! Ill not
IV.] PETS, . 39
stand it ! I'll not do them ! TU not be put upon ! *'
and Paulina pushed away the book, reached out
her arm, and took down " Through the Looking
Glass," reading it in a dreamy discontented way,
trying to think she was enjoying it very much ;
but not even the Knight would entertain her now,
she was much too sorrowful and- unhappy a victim,
much too like a Cinderella oppressed by cruel step-
sisters. Presently she looked up as the voices of
people in the road sounded cheerfully. " Oh dear !
oh dear ! everybody is out of doors and happy but
me — and I have got these texts to do ! My own
mamma never made me write texts out ! Oh, I
wish Sisters hadn't come ; I want my own mamma."
And then she began crying passionately and
violently, as she had never before cried for her
She had cried for a good while and had grown
tired of it, and begun to draw her sobs more slowly,
when she heard the sound of the study door, and
the pause of a tread before the door. Perhaps she
gave a somewhat louder sob in consequence. At any
rate, the door was opened and Mr. Quintall said : —
" What's the matter, now 1 Why aren't you out V
40 PROMENADING. [chap.
" Elspeth made me stay/' she sobbed out
'• Elspeth ! Why ? "
* *She made me stay in, to write my texts over
again. And how was I to know that it was the
Epistle ? "
" Well, never mind now. Dry up your tears and
come out. I'll not have you kept in all Sunday I
Put on your hat."
Paulina obeyed in no small haste and satisfaction.
It did not come across her to question whether if
her account was true it was perfectly honest. She
only felt the satisfaction of having Papa on her
side against her sisters. He was not a very talking
man, and she did not expect a lively walk ; indeed,
before they had gone far, he met his friend the
doctor, and they began discussing some matter
concerning the health of the town, about which she
neither knew nor cared.
The avenue was a fine broad quadruple row of
lime-trees, extending nearly a mile from the main
street of the town, and the way home from almost
everywhere. Here, after some little time, the walk-
ing party were met, with hands full of cowslips
and bluebells, and Horace with three new cater-
TV.] PETS. 41
pillars disposed in different pill-boxes about his
Of course they looked much surprised to see
Paulina, and Elspeth asked in an undertone, " Did
Papa give you leave ? "
" Yes, he told me to come."
"Oh, if Papa gave you leave, it is all right."
Paulina was very anxious to know what would
pass with her father about it, but as long as Dr.
Penrose was present, of course nothing was said,
and when at the garden gate he had taken leave,
Paulina only caught thus much by lingering on
the stairs : —
" Why did you keep that child indoors crying ? "
Again she missed Elspeth's answer.
•Tve no doubt you mean rightly, Elspeth, but
things may be overdone. I won't have the children
disgusted, and their religion made a penance to
them. I don't approve of it."
Paulina heard a movement, and could not venture
to stay any longer, but she nodded to herself satis-
faction at finding that Papa was on her side. She
never bethought herself how little he reaUy knew
how she had behaved, yet her fright lest Elspeth
42 PARTY SPIRIT, [ch. iv.
sliould show him that unfortunate copy-book might
have shown her that she knew she was not being
true and just in all her dealings.
She was beginning to think her sisters tyrants
always to be opposed, always trying to oppress,
and to rank everyone as their supporter or hers.
In feet, she was learning party spirit
Monday afternoons were spent at the dancing school,
and as Miss Lillywhite had a bad cold, Elspeth
undertook to take Paulina and Aline to the Assem-
bly Eoom, which was hired for the weekly lessons.
It was Elspeth's first time of going, and Aline was
much delighted, only wishing her dear Persis was
going too, and pouring out an immense quantity
of information, — rather more, perhaps, than Paulina
"Do you know, Elsie, we are the only pupils
that come in our own carriage, except the Eays."
"Because we live the farthest off," suggested
" Oh no, the Browns live further, and come in by
train. They haven't carriages to come in."
PERFUME AND PRIMROSE.
" Very likely not," said Elspeth ; '* but it is very
silly to care about that, Aline. It is manners, not
carriages, that make man, or woman either."
" I wonder," pursued Paulina, " whether the Eays
will be thera That little Tom is so rough and
"I didn't know you had boys."
"Oh yes. Tom Eay is almost a baby, only
seven years old ; and Cecil Wharton goes, and two
or three more little fellows like that," said Aline
very proudly, being herself nine ; " besides Percy
"Percy Grafton!" exclaimed Elspeth; "why, he
is almost a man."
" Quite," said Aline. And oh, he does wear such
lovely ties. And he has one pia with a coral death's-
head on the top, and another with a dear little dog.
And I wonder if he'll have his primrose-coloured
gloves this time. I like them best, but Paula likes
his pale green ones, — don't you, Paula?"
" No, I like his pale lavender, only he split them
all across," said Paulina.
"And his scents. He has sometimes millefleurs,
and sometimes eau de cologne, and something else I
v.] QUADRILLES, 45
can't remember," said Aline. "I wonder who he*ll
" Whcynhy if you please," said Elspeth. " I should
think nobody would wish to dance with anyone so
absurd and conceited."
Paulina looked very much aflfronted. "He is a
very fine young man," she said.
Elspeth laughed, but Aline went chattering on.
"Oh, every one wants to dance with him," she
said. "I heard Miss Barker say he was the beau
of the dancing-room. He always wants to have
Millicent Airlie for his partner, and she can't
" She shows her sense," said Elspeth ; " but you
said just now everyone wished it."
"Oh, except her. And if she won't have him,
he generally asks Paulina, or sometimes one of the
Eays, if Paulina can't, but "
" Hush, Aline \ don't go on so loud," said Paulina.
" Here we are."
" Yes, here's the Assembly Eoom, and there's Milly
Airlie I Now there's a flight of stone steps, Elsie,"
continued Aline, quite delighted to have to show
46 PARTNERS. [CHAP.
Millicent Airlie, a nice-looking girl of fifteen,
neatly dressed in white piqvA, shook hands on the
steps, and asked Paulina to be her partner.
" I don't know,'' said Paulina ; " I never will be
engaged before I go in."
" Just the contrary to me," said Millicent " Aline,
then, will you have me ? "
"Oh yes! thank you," cried Aline, clasping her
hand with a glad little jump. " I know Mr. Grafton
wouldn't dance with me ! "
Elspeth wished her little sisters were as lady-like
as the daughter of the Vicar of St. Paul's. " Are you
alone, Millicent ? " she said.
" Mamma is coming in presently, but she had to
go to a shop, and sent me on to go in with someone.
It is very troublesome, but I am to go to my uncle's
for some grand parties this autumn, and she thought
I ought to know the steps."
Paulina held aloof. She knew that Elspeth
wanted her to make friends with MiUicent Airlie,
and in her present mood this did not make her
like her the better. Moreover, she wanted more
even than usual to dance with Percy Grafton,
because he was generally the leader of the party
v.] QUADRILLES. 47
to the Prince's Quay Eegatta, and she wanted to
hear all about it from him. He had left Mr. Quick's
school last half-year, and was improving himself
in dancing and deportment generally, under the
tuition of Mrs. Leviti, who came over weekly from
Prince's Quay, with her husband to act as violinist.
It was a large room, with a raised step for an
orchestra, and chairs and benches all along one
side; Mr. Leviti tuning his violin, and his wife
and two young lady assistants putting some little
girls through their arm exercises with poles, while
the others were waiting on the chairs. Mr. Grafton
was not come. All the little girls knew one another,
and there was a great deal of greeting and shaking
hands; but Elspeth was too new in the place to
know many people as yet, and none of her acquaint-
ance were among the mothers and governesses, so
she sat down to wait for Mrs. Airlie.
Presently Miss Paulina Quintall was called up
to handle her pole. Her great fear was lest Percy
Grafton should come in while she was thus occupied,
and ask somebody else; and all the time she was
straightening her arms and balancing the pole, her eyes
were twisting askew towards the door, but still in vain.
48 PITCHERS WITH LONG EARS. [chap.
though she was twice called to order, and told to
look straight before her.
All she managed to see out of the comers of her
eyes was Mrs. Airlie coming in, and, after a good
many greetings to various people, sitting down by
Elspeth and beginning to talk.
By the time they were well in the conversation
Paulina's exercises were over, and Aline's had begun.
She had a strong suspicion that Elspeth might be
consultiDg Mrs. Airlie about the regatta, and so
she came as near as she could, instead of joining
any group of little girls. Sure enough it was that
very thing ! There was a chair in front of them, and
Paulina had very quick ears, so that, though they
lowered their voices as she approached, she could
still catch the most of it.
"T^s," Mrs. Airlie was saying, "we have never
allowed our boys to go. (More shame for you!
thought Paulina.) In fact, they have never seemed
to wish it. (Poor stupid creatures ! said the girl to
herself.) We have tried at times to arrange some
little festivity instead." (Oh, indeed ! some deadly-
lively old woman's tea-party, I suppose.)
"Yes," returned Elspeth, "that was what we
v.] QUADRILLES. 49
thought of. Another year, if Horace is at home —
(What! unnatural sister! was she going to send
Horace from home ?)— and wishes it, we might all go
down together ; but this year, I cannot think it fit
to let him go alone with "
Paulina's attention was taken off, for Percy
Grafton entered the room in his loveliest pale prim-
rose gloves. Whom was he looking for ? That was
a beautiful bow! Ah, the wretch! he was making
his way to Millicent Airlie. Paulina's heart beat
with foolish jealousy, though she knew full well
what Milly's answer would be. " Always engaged !
that is too cruel," she heard him say, or rather knew
that he was saying.
Then he stood meditating for a moment — and
was it Elspeth's whisper that Paulina caught :
'Insufferable puppy! I should like to whip him."
" Ay," thought Paulina, " you would like to hinder
anyone from ever speaking to me, shouldn't you?
And Mrs. Airlie is just as bad ! Hark ! "
"I think I should have spoken to Madame Leviti,
only that it must anyway be for a very short time,
and they all do keep strict silence, and I can quite^
depend on Milly " \
50 QUIPS, [CHAP.
- ■ - — — 1
At that moment Aline was released; Mr. Leviti
made thi'ee preliminary sounds with his "kit," and
Percy Grafton advanced to Miss Paulina Quintall
and requested the honour of her hand, with the
magnificent formality needful under Madame Levities
eyes. Millicent had to do the same with Aline —
in fact, everyone with everyone. No speaking was
allowed, as Mrs. Airlie said, and yet Paulina had
contrived a turn of the neck and a whispered
answer — "Second choice, Mr. Grafton" — ^with what
she meant to be a look of arch reproach, but if she
had had Elspeth's eyes she would have thought it
To talk during the figure was manifestly impos-
sible, but the veteran attendants on the dancing
school had sundry ingenious contrivances for under-
standing one another, and there were moments when
people who cared less for obedience than for being
found out, could say a good deal to one another.
If any little one made a mistake, and everyone was
thrown out while she was set right, there was often
a low buzz all round, which came to a sudden end
the moment Madame Leviti looked up. It was in
one of these sudden pauses, caused by little Eva
v.] QUADRILLES, 5 1
Grace going wrong in the chains des dames, that
Paulina contrived to ask in a hasiy whisper, " Are
you going to the Eegatta?"
•* Yes, certainly, the whole party. Are you ?"
" Oh no, only Horace."
Here Paulina saw Elspeth looking at her, and
stood straight, with a composed countenance; but
as the dance was resumed, and her side stood stiU
while the others were caxeering across. Percy
managed to say, with a glance from the corner of
his eye towards Miss Quintall, "Dragon in human
form— eh ?"
A nod and a sigh, and the response, "The
worst of it is, Pm afraid she won't let Horace
" Intolerable ! Can't she be circumvented ?'*
The second figure was over now, and they had
to stand still while the third was prepared for, and
to do their part of the third. Again came a
blunder: Millicent Airlie had forgotten, and was
dancing the lady's part. Percy Grafton gave the
further information :—
*'The Quagga is to race the Petrel; there are
bets up to three hundred pounds on it. It is to be
52 QUAGGA AND PETREL. [chap.
the best regatta there has been at alL All the
windows towards the bay are taken."
" Oh, he must go," cried Panlina, under her breath.
" How can we manage ?"
"Could not someone get him out for th^ day?"
« Oh, but "
"Paulina!" came a grave voice across the room.
Percy and Paulina started, shrugged their shoulders,
and compressed their lips.
Paulina felt Elspeth's eye upon her all the rest
of the dancing lesson. How provokingly xmlike dear
old lilly, who always sat between two of her friends,
and, if she ever looked up at all, could always be
daunted with a saucy glance. Anger and determina-
tion were growing higher and higher every paoment
in Paulina. N"o, the tyrant sisters should not interfere
with everybod/s pleasure, and cut the whole family
off from all their friends. Girls might be under her
dominion, but Horace should be saved.
Not another word could be exchanged with Percy
Grafton till the general break-up. Then, while
Elspeth was being introduced by Mrs. Airlie to
some lady who had come with her little girls, and
v.] QUADRILLES. 53
had begged to know Miss Quintall, there were a
few more sentences : —
" You see how it is, Percy."
"New brooms sweep clean," he responded; "in
fact, I believe there's a conspiracy among the fogies.
Counterplot them, that's the ticket," said Mr. Grafton,
« I think I sea"
" Ah, I knew you had the spirit. Make a begin-
ning at once. Cfe viejst que, — ^you know the French
'* Paulina, come and put on your hat." She was
forced to follow into the cloak room, and there was
on her face what she thought a very determined look,
but which was a very sullen one,
Paula," said Elspeth, as they were going home,
I thought it was a rule that there was no talking
at these lessons."
" I didn't talk."
" Paulina 1 "
" Nobody calls that talking ! "
" Indeed ! "
" Everybody does it."
" I do not know what everybody else does, but
54 * PRIMNESS. [CHAP. V.
if these lessons are made an opportunity of being
disobedient and unladylike, I shall put a stop to
Paulina had a great mind to say, ''Do you think
Papa would let you/' but there was a grave, quiet
resolution about Elspeth that did not make it at all
easy to be openly impertinent to her.
But the resolution was taken. She should be
Yes, Ekpeth was to be circumvented. Whatever
she might accomplish as to her sisters, Horace's
liberty was not to be abridged. He was to be
trusted like other boys, and should go to the Eegatta
and enjoy himseK, instead of being put off like a
baby with some stupid little trumpery treat, — a tea-
drinking in the nursery, or a picnic with the Airlies,
Percy Grafton should see that Paulina Quintall
was a girl of spirit and resource in her brother's
cause, and was not to be put down by any fine
prim London-bred sister, coming down to send them
all to the right-about, and think everything wrong.
Did no voice within say to Paulina, that, in the
first place, Horace did not care for the Begatta, and
56 PERSISTENCE, [chap.
in the next, that it was no good sister's part to
promote her brother's going among a set of lads
who might teach him evil habits, that would perhaps
cling to him for life?
Alas ! it is very odd what a difference self-will
makes, either in our inward voices or our inward
ears ! If Horace did not care for the yacht racing,
he ought ! Why should he not be like other boys,
instead of the muff the elder sisters would like
to make him ? Temptations ! Paulina had heard
of such things, but she believed them to be what
stupid, tiresome people talked of when they wanted
to prevent their unfortunate victims from enjoying
themselves or having any fun. She felt herself
a high-spirited, generous sister, standing up for her
brother and his rights, and she entirely forgot that
the reason she cared so much for Horace's having
this entertainment, was not because she showed
symptoms of disappointment, but because Elspeth
had offended her.
Paulina believed that she would not tell a false-
hood, but she had never quite learnt to think a
Now, about seven miles off, lived her old great-
VI. ] PRE VARICA TION. 5 J
^ J_MJ._JI_.Ml_IBl ■ !■ ■ I - -■- ■ — ^
uncle, Mr. Proudfoot. He was the head of the
Proudfoot family, and had a large, very pleasant estate
and faim, but he was very old, and nearly blind,
and things were chiefly managed in the house by
liis old housekeeper, Mrs. Eebekah Saunders, of
whom all his young visitors were very fond, for
they were petted to their heart's content, and
allowed to skim the cream, and eat the preserves,
and play in the great spare attics, and roast chest-
nuts in the ashes, and do everything else that
was thought delightful. Horace was an especial
favourite with both master and maid, and was
every now and then invited to spend a day at the
farm, which he could easily reach by going in the
morning train to the nearest station, walking a little
more than a mile, and returninc^ in the same way
in the evening.
Mr. Proudfoot was too blind to write, and once
or twice when he had wanted Horace to come out
to him, he had made Eebekah mark the day in a
corner of one of his cards and send it by the post,
and this was quite understood in the family. It
struck Paulina that if Horace could show such a card
to his father, with the day of the Regatta marked on
,58 QUERIES. [CHAP.
it, Mr. Quintall would not hesitate for a moment to
grant the holiday^ and Elspeth would probably be
only too glad to have him so safely disposed of.
" There will be no telling falsehoods," said Paulina
to herself; " only showing the card."
Yet surely she must have known that a falsehood
in action was very like a falsehood in word, or else
why should she have watched everybody out of the
room before she began to search in the card basket,
and given such a violent start when Aline came in
and asked what she was looking for ?
" Oh, I was just seeing if— if there was a card fit
to make a pincushion on."
And she began looking at the cards, as if con-
sidering them, telling herself that it was quite true,
since she should see if there were one suited to her
purpose. How horribly inconvenient it was in Aline
to ask what the pincushion was to be made of.
" Oh, I don't know ; I've got a bit of ribbon."
" Oh, Paula ! you don't mean to cut that beautiful
bit with the pagodas and Chinamen upon it ? It
you do, please give me a comer."
"Don't bother so, Aline. You worry so, I don't
know what I'm about."
VI.] PREVARICATION, 59
Poor little Aline was not conscious of any parti-
cular bothering, but she was pretty well used to
being hunted about by Paula, and could take it
No card of Mr. Proudfoot was in the basket, as
in fact he never left one. But Paulina still had a
resource. Mrs. Saunders — Becky, as her favourites
called her — was, as she well knew, quite ready to
pity and sympathise with the children of her mas-
ter's niece, and to expect that they must be oppressed
by their half-sisters. So she would write to her, and
beg her to say nothing to her master, but to send his
card or an envelope addressed to Paulina herself,
putting the date in the corner.
The diflSculty was to write the letter without
being asked to whom she was writing; and here
Paulina was obliged to resort to another contrivance.
She dawdled purposely over learning her lessons for
the next day, and when Aline and the little ones
were going down after the elders' dinner, she said, as
naturally as she could, that she had not finished her
tiresome geogi^aphy, and could not come ; there were
ever so many horrid places in the interior of Africa
to be looked out
6o PRYING SISTERS, [chap.
Hiis made a very good excuse for putting the
globe on the table as a screen, and spreading a great
atlas before her, in the middle of which lay her
geography-book, and within that a sheet of note-
paper; the inkstand could be reached by making a
long arm over the map of Africa, and Paulina
" My dear darling old Becky, — I know you will
be a ducky darling, and help your pet in a bother, and
hold your tongue, like a good old darling as she was.
Horace wants a holiday terribly on the 20th : he has
always had one to go to the Eegatta, but my sisters
are making a fuss and trying to hinder him, which
is a gi'eat shame. Now, dear Becky, do please stand
our friend, and just -"
Hark! What was that? A footstep! What a
start ! Down goes a drop of ink in the middle of
Timbuctoo! A hand on the door — ^whisk goes the
letter under the atlas ! Oh, what a dreadful thing
to have tiresome, troublesome, horrid, prying half-
" My poor Paula," — ^it was Persis' gentle voice, —
" this is very nice and steady of you."
Paulina's heart would have felt a pang, only it was
VI. ] PRE VARICA TION. 6 1
stifled by tlie fancy that this good-nature was only
an excuse for coming to see what she was about.-
"How close and dismal the room feels," said
Persis, drawing up the blind, and opening the
window wider. " N"o wonder you felt stupid and
could not get on. Here, let us try if we cannot find
the places together — which are they ? "
" Oh, let me see," said Paula, exceedingly afraid
that the atlas would be moved and her letter dis-
covered. " There's what's his name — Ticonderoga."
" There surely is not a Ticonderoga in Africa,"
said Persis. " I thought it was a fort in America.
Let me look."
Paulina rather rudely held the atlas fast, and
muttered, "Pve just done, if you'll only let me
"Only do let me make out about this place for
my own satisfaction," said Persis. " Let me see the
" There ! " said Paulina, crossly. " I like to learn
my lessons by myself."
" That's a change," said Persis, smiling, for at first
Paulina had always been crying out for her help.
"Has Elsie taught you self-reliance, as she calls it?
62 PAGES BLOTTED, [CHAP.
Ticonderoga ! My dear, it is Timbuctoo ! And no
wonder you could not see it, under that terrible
spot of ink ! Why, it is fresh ! "
** Is it ? " said Paulina, still thinking that she was
guilty of no untruth.
" Quite fresh ! So much the worse for my fingers
and the map," said Persis. "What a pity! How
could it have happened? What have you been
doing, Paula? You never should have ink about
and map-books open."
Persis was so true herself that she was entirely
unsuspicious ; otherwise she could hardly have failed
to perceive that there was something wrong when
Paulina, in a dreadful fright, held the atlas fast,
lest it should be lifted up, and almost said, "Oh,
don't ! "
"I think I had better fetch some of my soft
blotting-paper," said Persis. " Nothing takes up ink
And while she was gone to her room for it, Paula
popped the letter into a drawer and breathed more
freely ; but this most inconvenient Persis had no
sooner so taken up the ink that it remained only
a little cloudiness, to express, as she said, the black-
VI.] PREVARICATION, 63
ness of the negro country, than she began to say, " 1
think Elsie will hardly be able to find out where the
" I don't see why she should ever find it out at
all," said Paulina.
" Why, of course you will teU her."
" There's no use. That old atlas is all over ink-
spots . ah^eady in England and Europe, and nobody
ever thought of telling anybody."
And Paulina turned the pages to a place where
Ireland was spotted over like a plum-pudding.
Horace had done it one day when the last governess
had set him an imposition before he went to school ;
but she was too cross and guilty to mention the
ridiculous scene when it was found out.
" Well," said Persis, " the poor book does seem to
be in a bad way, but I never could be happy to have
done the smallest damage without confessing it."
" I don't teU lies," said Paulina snappishly, feeling
as if resenting the supposed injustice vindicated her
from all that made her feel uncomfortable.
'* I should trust not, indeed," said Persis with a
shudder. "Dear Paula, how can you speak of q,ny-
thing so dreadful? I only meant that the safest
64 PAULA'S TROUBLE. [chap.
way for oneself and other people is to mention every
little thing the moment it happens."
" I don't call this anything," sulkily answered
Paulina^ partly resolved against yielding to Persis,
and partly in dread of bringing upon herself Elspeth's
inquiry what she was doing with the ink.
Persis desisted, seeing that it was of no use, and
perceiving that respect for the atlas was so lost that
the injury to it was hardly viewed as mischief; so
that for her to mention it was hardly a duty, and
might make Paulina view her as a tell-tale.
However, she kindly stayed, and helped Paulina
to search out several places with long and uncouth
names, not getting much gratitude, for of course the
girl was only burning to be rid of her. Nay, she
even stayed to help to put away the books, and thus
took away all chance of finishing the letter or even
getting it out of the drawer where it had been
hidden, and which was a very dangerous place.
The only way that Paula could manage now, was
that after spending her hour in the garden, where all
were sitting out after dinner, when she bade good-
night, she exclaimed to Aline, " IVe left something
in the school-room," and darted off into it. She
VL] PREVARICATION. 6$
T--I --- - - _■ ■■-.,■ ^ .. ■ -
shut the letter into a book and carried it upstairs
with her, and in the evening light she sat up in
bed and finished in pencil : —
"You see how I am put about to write, dear
ducky daddies ; I am writing this in bed, because
they watch me so. If you will just put one of
Uncle Proudfoot's cards in an envelope, and write
the * 20th ' in the corner and send it to me, I can
get poor Horace his holiday, and it will be all
right ; only don't tell my uncle. I am sure you can
manage it, and that you will be the dear old thing
you always wera Mind you address the envelope
to me, and say nothing about it.
" I am, your aflfectionate
" P. Q."
It was not so difficult to contrive the getting the
letter into the envelope and addressing it, for that
took so short a time that Paulina could manage it by
getting up early and spending a few minutes in the
schoolroom before meeting Persis in Horace's room
to feed the caterpillars.
There was a pillar post not very far from the
gate. Paulina put on her hat — not a veiy usual
practice with her when she was only going to get
66 ' PILLAR POST. [CHAP.
leaves for the caterpillars — ran headlong downstaiiy,
out at the door, and through the iron gate. It
opened easily from the inside, and in a few seconds
she was dropping her letter into the slit in the
But oh, she had forgotten. The gate had shut
itself, and there w£is no means of opening it from
the outside. There was Paulina Quintall, with no
gloves, only her hat, shut out into the street. She
was beginning to find out how prickly are all ways
outside the straight one. Indeed, it is hardly true
to say she was beginning, for it was not the first
time Paulina had manoeuvred, or she could hardly
have done it so readily. She hurried across the
road — it was half road, half street here — and at
haphazard gathered a handful of green leaves and
grass from the hedge cm the opposite side, and
then rang the belL She had never been afraid of
being alone in the street before, but she certainly
did not like it now, feeling sure that she could
not be looking like a lady, and not at all certain
what would happen to her.
She waited long, and rang again, and she gave
^u^ch a start at the voice within.
PRE V A RICA TION.
"Einging again! Mind, I won't have none of
that! I shan't answer the door for a quarter of
an hour if I have any more of that."
"Susan!" called Paulina.
" Bless me, if it is not Miss Paulina ! Well, if
ever ! "
Paulina held up her leaves. "I got these for
the caterpiQars, and was shut out."
So she ran past Susan and reached Palmer-
worm Park safely and unsuspected; and, alas!
she only felt her escape, not how evil her deceit
Patjuna's next anxiety was about Eebekah's answer.
She did not at all want to have the letter put into
her hands before everybody, when Aline — if not
one of the elder sisters — ^would be sure to exclaim,
'* Who can be writing to you, Paula?" and would
think it very strange if she did not open it at once.
She wished she had desired Eebekah to direct it
to the post-ofiSce, so that it might lie there till
it was called for; but there were two dangers in
doing this — one, that Eebekah woidd not understand
too many directions, and the other, that she would
imderstand too well that there was something under-
hand, and carry the letter to her master, though
it was not easy to believe that dear old Becky would
be so treacherous.
CHAP. VII. QUANDARIES, 69
Letters used of course to come in the morning,
and the country posts also came in the afternoon,
when they used to lie at the ofi&ce till six o'clock,
unless anyone inquired there after them; and if
Mr. Quintall expected any letter in particular, he
sometimes sent down one of the clerks from the
bank, or sometimes called himself on his way home,
and brought in the family letters.
This was what Paulina greatly wished to avoid.
She knew that her having received the envelope
might be remembered when the card was produced,
and that it would be even more dangerous than
the post-box in the morning, into which, if she had
good luck, she might manage to fish before anyone
else looked in.
No one ever said a truer word than Sir Walter
Scott when he wrote —
** Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive."
Paulina was full in the midst of this web as
she racked her brains to find an excuse for going
to the post-oflBce. She could not say she wanted
stamps, for some had just been given to her. Sho
70 PLEASE TAKE ME. [ckap.
must make an excuse for getting into the street,
and then trust to luck.
However, fortune favoured her, for at luncheon —
the children's dinner — ^Elspeth said, "I think I
must go into the town this afternoon; I want some
drawing paper and some other things." ^
"Oh, please let me come," cried Aline; ''I
want ^" and she paused.
"Do you know what, Alie?" asked Elspeth,
laughing. " I observe that a whole string of wants
spring up as soon as anyone is going into the
"Oh, but I do really want some Turkish
"Nonsense, Alie," said Paulina, who had taken
her resolution. "Take me, Elsie; I do really want
some perforated card."
"Me too," cried Olive; "I do really want to
spend my penny." '
" Me too," cried little Clare ; " me do reelly want
"Haven't you b, ^me do reelly want^ too, Persie?"
said Elspeth, laughing.
"Persie is grown up," said Aline.
ni.] QUANDARIES. 7 1
"Ah, Ali Baba," said Elspeth good-humouredly,
"if you begin hatching wants at your age, you
won't stop when you are grown up!"
"I can truly say, me do redly want — not to go
into Peterskirk," said Persis decidedly, for she did
not like the town at all — a thing which greatly
amazed her little sisters.
" Very well, then ; Paula is the only one who has
a sensible reason for wanting to go with me," said
Elspeth. " No, Alie ; Turkish delight is not at all a
sensible want for a young lady of nine years old,
who can have plenty of good fruit ; and little Olive
wiU learn some day that the mere want to spend
her penny is more silly still. Perhaps Persie will
take you all out to get some wild roses, and see
if the wood strawberries are ripe, while Paula and
I go into the town."
"I want some perforated card to make a pin-
cushion too," said Aline, pouting a little.
"Me too," cried Olive; "I want some card."
"Me too," added Clare; "a pretty tard with a
wobbin on it."
"SiQy little echoes," said Elspeth merrily; "you
tliink you have found the right note. Hadn't you
72 PEEPING IN. [CHAP.
better say at once that you all want a little peeping
in at the shop-windows?"
"Oh, but won't you let us have it?" entreated
" N"o, Aline ; we can't go in so many to the shops.
You little ones must take turns to go in with us.
And, above all, when you want to do a thing, say
so straightforwardly, at once, and don't look about
for reasons which are not direct."
These last words made Paulina feel very cross,
and think Elspeth must suspect something, and be
talking at her. Such a thing it is to have a guilty
As they walked into the town, she never saw
Elspeth look towards her without fancying that
she suspected something; and when they reached
the shop where drawing materials were sold, her
heart gave a great throb, as if she were doing
something very dangerous, when she ventured to
ask whether she might run on to the worsted shop
while Elspeth was choosing her drawing paper,
and get her perforated card. The consent came
quite easily, and almost made her feel ashamed.
The fact was that a birthday was not far off, and
va] QUANDARIES, 73
Elspeth knew the delight of secret contrivances for
making up presents as a surprise, and thought that
this might account for Paulina's desire to go shopping
Away then posted Paulina, going so fast that she
almost tumbled into a perambulator round the
corner, and quite ran against a woman with a
market basket, who seemed inclined to give her a
And when she reached the post-ofl&ce, she found
getting the letters no such rapid business. Quan-
tities of people seemed to be there wanting orders,
or letters, or stamps, or something, and they were
all attended to in turn, on the principle of " first
come, first served," which hurt her dignity very
much. She did not like to see a common soldier
or a little scrubby maidservant attended to before
Miss Paulina Quintall; and, besides, suppose she
was kept waiting too long, and Elspeth were to
However, her pride was thus far flattered, though
with a great fright at first. "Miss Quintall, can I
do anything for you ? " said a voice a little in front
of her. She gave a start, and then perceived that
74 AfISS p. QUINTAI^L. [chap.
the voice came from one of the young clerks in
the bank, and she was able to feel herself a little
grand again, as she answered, "Thank you, Mr.
Bakewell, if you would ask for our letters."
Mr. Bakewell signed acquiescence, and Paulina
stood a little out of the line of people waiting,
— ^gettijjg, however, jostled by all who were going
away, aiid feeling more cross and frightened every
minute, as she wondered whether she had better
caution Mr. Bakewell against telling her father he
had met her there, and then deciding that there was
such a distance between one of the partners and the
junior clerk that nothing was more unlikely than
that he should mention any such thing.
His presence saved her full ten minutes' waiting,
as he had been there for some time before her ; but
still she had been kept so long, that when a letter
addressed to Miss P. Quintall was put into her hand,
she durst not stop to read or to look at it, but put it
into her pocket and hurried away, scarcely thanking
She had really forgotten all about the perforated
card, and was in full career back again, when
straight before her she saw Elspeth!
VII.] QUANDARIES. 75
"My dear, what a time you have been! I was
going to the worsted shop in search of you."
" I have not been there," said Paulina, colouring,
but still trying to. persuade her conscience that she
was speaking truth. " I did not think I should find
just what I wanted there, and so I went on further."
"You should have told me if you intended it,"
said Elspeth. " Your going into a shop three doors
off is very different from your wandering half
over the town by yourself. I do not think Papa
would like it."
" I have often been by myself," growled Paulina.
"With Papa's knowledge? — eh? However, we
will not say any more about it now. Have you got
what you wanted?"
Paulina, had actually answered Yes, but she recol-
lected that Aline and all the rest would come crowd-
ing round expecting to see her card, so, with a
stammer and falter, she said " Yes ; at least I must
still get a bit of card here."
Elspeth had never been so near suspecting some-
thing wrong. Indeed she would have quite sus-
pected it if it had not been for the approaching
birthday, for Paulina bought her card in an inatten-
76 PRICKLES, [CHAP. VII.
tive hurry, very unlike a person who had just been
taking so much trouble about her materials. She
did not know whether she wanted it coarse or fine,
broad or narrow, nor how much she required, so that
Elspeth could not help saying gently, " My dear, you
should always know your own mind before you come
shopping, or you are very unnecessarily troublesoma"
Paulina shook her shoulders. She was in a state
of mind all over prickles, in which the slightest
reproof made her think of the Fs and Q's, and feel
justified in any kind of underhand resistance to such
tiresome, fussy half-sisters.
p. AND P.
Not till Pauliua was in her own room taking off
her things did she venture to open her envelope.
Eagerly she tore it open ; it stuck very fast, all along
the edges, and she tore right through the back before
she could get it open.
Behold, there was no card in it ; it was all letter,
three sheets, in a crampy-lookmg hand, beginning
"My dear child."
Was Becky actually venturing on calling her so ?
Surely that was very impertinent, if the old thing
were ever so tiresome, in giving her a lecture instead
of doing as she was asked. Paulina stamped on the
ground with impatience and anger at the insolence^
and the vexation that the Sisters should get their
own way, and oppress poor Horace after all
Then it struck her that the writing was not like
78 UNCLE PROUDFOOT. [chap.
that of an old servant. It might be worse. She
had heard something about Uncle Proudfoot being
able to write, though he could not read. That
dreadful old Rebekah must actually have gone and
told him, and he had written her a scolding. Of
course that was it. Did it not begin —
"My dear Child, — ^You ask me "
When old people began in that way, how could
they expect young ones to have any patience to read
their letters? No, no; Uncle Proudfoot and his
lecture would keep, and he might have stood by his
own niece's children better than to let them be
ground down by the Trefusis kind ! Elspeth's mis-
• deeds and Horace's disappointment were always
growing in Paulina's eyes.
Aline came racing into the room to look at the
purchases, and she hastily thrust the letter into her
pocket, intending to think no more about it, and
make away with it when she had an opportunity.
She was sure that she had quite lectures enough
from her sisters by word of mouth, without troubling
herself to read them in cross old Uncle Proudfoot's
She answered Aline in the same ill-tempered way
vin.] P. A^^D P. 79
as to what she meant to do with her card. " Was it
to be anything for Persis' birthday ? "
" No ! There was quite fuss enough about Persis
" Oh, but Persis is such a duck ! " said Aline.
" Only think, Paula, she told us stories all the way.
She told us about the Princess that held her tongue
and sewed the nettle shirts for her brothers."
Paulina felt as if she was doing it. " And, Paula,"
went on Aline, " if you would only let me have a
little bit of your card, I would make a book-marker
for Persie. I could do it all myself I May I ? "
" Don't keep bothering," said Paulina. " You care
for nothing else but what is new, and pets and spoils
you. Now, I care too much for my own mamma to
make up to what is new."
"But Persis doesn't want us to forget our own
mamma," said Aline. *' We went to the High Wood
to-day, and Persie and I made the most beautiful
wreath of wood anemones and blue periwinkles that
I ever saw, and we went home by the cemetery and
put it on her grave."
" All flummery, and I hate it," said Paula, angrily ;
not that she did really hate anything but the being
8o A PICNIC POSSIBLE. [chap.
forced to acknowledge kindness in her half-sisters.
" Why can't they be a little kind to poor Horace,
instead of their flowers and things ! "
" Kind to Horace !" Aline opened her eyes.
" Ay I hindering him from the Regatta for Lilly's
nonsense and Mrs. Airlie's."
'^ But Horace doesn't want to go to the Eegatta,"
" Oh, nonsense I that's the way they make you
and him give way to them. But I care for old ways,
not for new fancies and fashions!"
" But, Paula, aren't you almost sure that we are
all going to do something ever so nice instead?
Do you know I almost think it will be a picnic
on Quack Common. I am sure there is a great
secret; and oh, wouldn't that be nice?"
" No ! not if it is instead of the Eegatta, and all
bothered up with the Airlies," answered Paulina,
flouncing away in the determination to have her
grievance, now that her machinations had proved
unsuccessful, and only brought a lecture upon her.
Only as she sat at tea did it flash upon her that
it was possible that worse things still might be in
stora Uncle Proudfoot might mean to tell Papa I
vni.l P. AND P. 8 1
She most read his letter^ reproofs and all, and see
whether there were any danger of anything so
shocking, or if she could do anjrthing to prevent
it* !tTo sooner had this thought occurred than she
became ahnost wild to make an opportunity of read-
ing the letter; but with Aline sitting opposite to
her, sighing over a French verb and watching for
any possible distraction, this was quite impossible.
At last, however. Aline had finished, and ran
away to dress; and Paulina, who had found that
no word would stay a moment in her head — ^nay,
that her eyes could scarcely see rightly while this
dreadful alarm was on her mind — ^took the letter
out of her pocket, laid it on her old friend the
atlas, and began to spell it out again.
"My dear child," it began, — "you ask me ''
So far was plain in the first two lines, but then
came seven or eight words together that Paula could
not make out at aU. It was really very illegible
writing; anyone would have found it so: and "love,**
"father," sacrifice," were all she could make out at
long intervals apart, and she could see nothing looking
in the least like the words Horace, Prince's Quay, or
Eegatta, insomuch that she began to doubt whether
82 QUIf [CHAP.
it were not all a mistake, or whether it had anything
to do with the matter at alL She hastily looked
at the end. It was a good deal crowded up into
the space over the commencement, but she made
out the letters " Ever y" a"', K U."
About the " K U." there could be no doubt, for
they were more like printing than manuscript letters.
Paula had not a " K. U." among all her acquaintance I
She looked again, and saw an address in white em-
bossed letters, stamped on the sheets of paper. It
was the number and street of a house in London.
It was plain now that it was a letter to Persis —
Miss P. Quintall, too. What business had people to
write such stupid directions!
And now what was to be done? Put it back
into the envelope and pop it into the post-box in
the door, so that it might come out with the other
letters in the morning? Alas ! the envelope was far
too much torn for this to be possible 1
Give it to Persis, asking her ppjdoji and explain-
ing that it hiad been opened by mistake? Then
Paula's expedition to the post-office must have been
mentioned, and all her plans would have become
viii.] p. AND P. 83
And while she was thinking, up came footsteps,
and .Aline — ^tiresome, perpetual Aline — ^flew into
"Oh, Paula! only think," she cried. "But what
have you got there?"
"Oh, nothing!" said she, hastily crunching the
letter anyhow into her pocket.
"Well," said Aline breathlessly, "only think —
Elsie and Persie have coaxed Papa out on the lawn
to play at croquet, and if you don't want to play,
" Papa can't play," said Paulina, getting up slowly.
" No, but they are going to teach him ! Isn't it
fun ? Please, Paula, say whether you want to play,
for they are waiting to begin, and I may play if
Paulina had no desire to play. She had rather
have puzzled over the "K. U.," but she was in a
dog-in-the-manger temper, and the sight of Aline
wishing for the game immediately decided her on
asserting her rights as eldest, and playing herself.
"Tou aren't fit to play," she said; "one person
who doesn't understand it is quite enough in a
84 ^ PUPIL. [CHAF,
Aline looked much disappointed.
"Indeed, Paula, Persie said I played very well
"I don't care how Persis pets you; I know you
And down ran Paulina in a great hurry, unable
to get rid of the letter, which, in its crumpled state,
hulged out in her pocket.
Mr. QuintaU had been persuaded to come out on
the lawn, not imwiUingly, but protesting that he
knew nothing about it ; and Elspeth and Persis were
merrily showing him how to hold the mallet, and
the various devices of the game. He was a slow,
deliberate man in his ways, and never seemed to
care much for amusement, but his daughters thought
that he worked too hard and incessantly, and were
always trying to lure him into relaxations.
He took up his mallet in a steady, earnest way,
and, new as he was to the game, he gave such hits
that the ball seemed to understand him, and go
wherever he wished.
" Quite right. Papa," cried Elspeth ; " you'U be as
good a player as Kenneth Urquhart, — ^won't he,
VIII.] P, AND P. 85
"Wlio is Kenneth Urquharti" asked Mr. QuintalL
"Oh, don't you know?" said Elspeth, laughing.
"Blue — ^Paula, it's you to play." And Paulina was
obliged to go after her ball, which, in her vexation,
she drove against the hoop, rebounding far ; and the
first thing she heard again was in her father's voice,
after delivering his ball: —
"Mr. Urquhart is very ultra, I believe."
"You know we don't think so," said Elspeth,
in a bright outspoken tone, while Persis' face
crimsoned over under her hat. " I do not believe
you would think so either, if you knew him,"
added Elspeth, looking bravely up to her father.
" I don't wish to know him. I should have cau-
tioned your aunts, if I had guessed what was going
on 1 Why, Persie, even the novice that I am could
have made a better stroke than that."
For Persis had struck with a trembling, ineffective
hand, and her ball had gone a very little way
towards the hoop. " The two P.'s are in a bad way,"
laughed Elspeth, giving her mind to the game in a
moment "We shall have only too easy a victory.
Papa ! Look out, Persie."
Click went Elspeth's ball against Persie's, and for
86 PERTURBATION. [chap,
the next few turns she had it all her own way.
Then Paulina felt impelled to retrieve her cause, and
as she could really play very well, she brought her
ball back, and had such a run of luck that she
became keenly interested. Persis, too, had recovered
herself, and the success of both together brought
matters into a very exciting state. Paulina was in
despair for her blue balL Would her father send it
entirely away ? Was there not a hope that he would
not see it ? She stood near it, almost over it, in
hopes that his ignorance of the game would save
it. Behold, her own partner betrayed her ! It was
Persis who called, " Paula, take care ; do you know
where you are standing ?"
Paulina moved away. '* How could you, Persie ?"
she asked under her breath. " There !" as her father
called out, " See, Miss Polly, there's an end of your
triumph. Mend that if you can, Persie," as he used
his advantage to pursue the ball of the other P.
"There! you've spoilt our chance," said Paulina,
crossly, though still very low.
. " Hush, Paula !" said Persis, with much more dis-
pleasure than her gentleness usually showed. " It is
well for you that Papa and Elsie did not see you.
VIII.] p. AND p. 87
Do you think I would win a game by unfair, under-
Paulina reddened with anger. All her gleam of.
good-humour had vanished. "Everyone does it,"
she muttered between her teeth, as Persis moved
forth to try to bring back her unfortunate balL
" Tm sure Persis has no business to make such a fuss
about underhand ways I I wonder how she would
like to know what sort of a letter I have in my
pocket! But I'm one who can put two and two
together! And she to talk to me of underhand
"Paula! play. You've got your ball to re-
cover," caUed Elspeth, interrupting her meditations.
" Why," as she passed across, " one would think you
had pocketed the balL What have you got sticking
out there ?"
"Oh, just some papers," said Paulina, putting
down her hand and squeezing them tighter, in hopes
tQ make them flatter ; and, in spite of her fright,
thinking, " Suppose I did bring them out, how would
Mrs. Persie look about being underhand, forsooth ?"
Q IN THE COBNER
The conversation in the croquet-ground had shed
a light on affairs. Paulina knew that the name
Urquhart was spelt with a "U/* and not as her ear
would have told her, ErTdrt, for she had heard her
sisters tell droll stories of misdirections of letters^
and it occurred to her that she had seen ''From
K* U." in more than one hook of her sister's. The
*'K U/* in the comer was no doubt Kenneth Urquhart,
this prime croquet player, at whose name Persia
blushed, lost her power of making a stroke, and
against whom her father wished he had cautioned
Paulina's eyes and ears had not been very closely
watched over. She had listened to a great deal of
idle gossip among the people who came to sit with
CHAP. IX.] Q IN THE CORNER. 89
her mamma, and she had also read whatever she
pleased in fhe many books that came from the
circulating Hbrary to amuse the many houis that
Mrs. Quintall spent as an invalid. This had made
her old of her age, and filled her with fooUsh fancies
and speculations aboiit grown-np life, when she was
not old enough really to understand anything
And so it was that she could gather so plainly that
this Kenneth Urquhart was in love with Persis, and
that, as her father so strongly disapproved, they corre-
sponded in secret. To think that it was reaUy and
truly a love-letter that she carried crushed up in her
pocket 1 Paulina felt all the taller for it, however it
had come about, and was all the more ardent for
another study of it. Since she had looked once, and
could never give it to Persis as it was, she had the
less scruple in looking at it again. She did so want
to see what real people said to one another when
they were in love. It could do no harm ; or, if it
did, Persis quite deserved it for making such a fuss
about being open when she was herself deceiving
So Paulina $rot the letter out of her pocket.
90 CURIOSITY, [CHAP.
smoothed it out^ and proceeded to trj to read it, as
she had written her own, by the evening light after
she had gone to bed.
** My dear child," — ^yes, that was just what some oi
the lovers in Mamma's books were apt to call their
ladies; that was all right; — "you ask me" — Oh
dear ! " K U." did write a shocking hand, to be sure I
What could he say Persis had asked him ? Some-
thing about her father's wishes ; that was clear. But
what, entirely baffled Paula ; there was something a
little farther off like " compensate for the sistcrifice,"
and then followed some crookbacked things and
curly tails and looped heads, that Paula could no
more make out than the hieroglyphics in the British
Museum. "In — ^fleece" — ^yes, fleece she thought she
read. Could it mean the "Heece" — ^the "Golden
Fleece " — the principal hotel in the town — a very old
one, where aU the post-horses and flys were kept ?
Yes, here was the word "fly." Could "KU." be
coming to the " Pleece " to meet Persis ? Here, too,
was a word that must be "destiny," and another
before it something like "link." How hard it was
that the writing should be so exceedingly trouble-
some to read ! And here was darkness making the
IX.] Q IN THE CORNER. 9 1
difficulty all the greater. It was of no use to go on
But what was to be done with the letter? Here
was a step coming 1 The maid to shut the shutters !
Under the pillow with the letter ! That would do
for the time; — but for the future? Nay, even as
Anne came in, the crackling of the paper seemed so
loud in Paulina's ears that no one could choose but
hear it. However, Anne made all dark, and went
away unsuspicious, leaving Paulina wide awake — so
wide, that it seemed as if she could never sleep
again — ^wondering over her strange discovery.
Persis must be in love ! Papa must disapprove of it,
and she must be having letters in secret No doubt
this " K. XJ." in the comer was Kenneth Urquhart,
and he was telling her that he would come down
to the "Golden Fleece," and then he would meet
her. Where ? Paulina's heart beat with the excite-
ment of such a wonderful discovery. Persis — quiet,
gentle Persis — ^who had always seemed so exceedingly
good and docile- -whom Elspeth held up as an
example, and who so often stood between her sisters
and the displeasure of sharper, sterner Elspeth —
Persis, with her caressing manner towards her father,
her love for all that was scood ! She to be carrying
92 PEEPING, [CHAP.
on an underhand engagement and a clandestine
Maybe the wonder and excitement, the interest
and cnriosity^ would have made Paulina feel friendly
towards the.lovers, but for the hostile spirit she was
feeling towards both her step-sisters, which made her
look upon the discovery as something to be used for
her own defence and protection if they *' put upon "
her any more — something that gave her the solace of
finding that Fersis at least was not so good as she
was supposed, and that when the Sisters preached
about being true and upright and straightforward,
they only meant it for the children, and not for
Therewith Paulina's thoughts began to get con-
fused, until she saw Persis whispering to Percy, as
she danced quadrilles on the deck of a jracht, while
somehow the waves and cordage and everything else
would make a crackling sound, and presently she
saw that all the sails of the yacht were made ot
letters which were all over Pemii caterpillars — eating,
eating them ever so fast, so that the ship would soon
not be able to sail; it would stop, it would sink, and
then it was sinking — the waves came crackle, crackle
IX.] Q IN THE CORNER. 93
round Paulina's ears, and awoke her; and then she
remembered that it was all that unlucky letter under
the pillow, — and yet, after aU, it made so very little
noise in reality when she turned her head, that her
conscience must have had the most to do with it.
What was to be done ? It was quite dark by this
time, for she heard a clock striking eleven, and so it
would be no use to open a shutter to enable her to see
how to dispose of the letter ; nor did she like to lay
it on the chair by her bedside with her stockings, lest
Anne should come in to wake her and should observe
it Yet she had a wonderful horror of hearing it
crackling in her ears. If she was wide awake the
sound was slight enough, but if she began dozing it
grew louder, and absolutely began to cry out, "Z", u — j;
Ktfw in the comer ! Q, u — ^who are you ? Q, u — ^who
are you ? " till she started up again half awake, and in
a fit of desperation snatched out the letter and tore
the sheets across and across, she knew not how, and
brushed them &om her to the floor. She was really
so sleepy and so desperate, that she hardly knew
what she was about — certainly did not think — till she
woke out of a dreamless sleep, this time at the sound
of the opening of the shutters, and Susan saying;
94 PAPER SCRAPS. tCHAP.
** Why, Miss Paulina, however did you make the bed
in such a litter? I am sure it was tidy enough
when I saw you last."
" Oh, never mind, Susan ! Ill pick it up ! " said
Paulina, bustling out of bed in a great hurry. " It
is only some paper that I had in my pocket"
Susan might think it very odd, but she was too
busy to attend to the matter now ; and having opened
the shutters and poured out the water, away she
went, while Paulina collected the bits in some dis-
tress and anxiety of mind, half sorry for a moment
that she had put it out of her power to restore the
love-letter to poor Persis, but consoled by thinking
that lovers always wrote to each other every day,
so that one letter more or less really could not
matter, and that Persis never ought to have had it.
But what was to be done with it? Fires there
were none at this time of year, and to light a flame
on the hearth to burn it would have brought Susan,
Aline, perhaps Elspeth, down upon her. If she left
it, Susan might be curious, piece it together, and
make the discovery ; and if she put it into the scrap
basket, Persis herself might look in and see the
writing. Besides, as Paulina held the fragments in
IX.] Q IN THE CORNER, 95
her hands, she could not help feeling a sort of odd
sentimental respect for the first love-letter she had
ever seen, which would have kept her from destroy-
ing it, even if she could have done so. There was
very little time to deliberate. Anne would be
coming in a minute to see whether she were tidy,
and all she could devise at the moment was to stuft
the scraps of the letter into her pocket, and as soon
as ever she was dressed she scrambled through her
prayers and flew to the old rocking-horse on the
landing. "Where the saddle had once been, there was
a hole in his side, Olive and Clare were wont to
call it "feeding Gee-gee" to drop in old mumbled
crusts ; and sometimes in fun, sometimes in mischief,
sometimes in sheer naughtiness, a good many odd
things had been entombed for ever in the body of
the old charger. There, then, roUing up her papers
into little quiUets, did Paulina consign poor Persis*
precious letter from " K U." to the keeping of the
ancient dapple-grey steed — starting a good many
times if she heard a step, and once obliged to desist
altogether, as Elspeth came suddenly out of her
room : —
•'Paula, what are you doing, dawdling on the
96 POPPED IN. [CHAP. IX.
horse? You are not so silly as to be putting things
'' Only some bits of paper,** said Paulina, unable
' to help colouring furiously.
''You had better not get into such a foolish
habit, or we shaU lose something of importance
Paulina got her last little roll in when no one was
looking, and thought herself very lucky !
Paulina was angry at being told not to dawdle,
or else she might have pitied Persis when the letters
came in; for after an eager look, her face grew
But Paulina was on the watch herself for Eebckah's
card, and when it did not come she felt cross and
uneasy on her own account, and these feelings ren-
dered her idle and troublesome at lessons. At least,
so said Elspeth and Miss Lillywhite. She said
herself, and thought, that the "putting upon" was
getting worse than ever, and that while they were
so particular, and expected so much from her, it was
of no use to try; and she rounded her back, and
made things as much worse as she could.
And when she was ordered to stay indoors till
98 POTTERING ABOUT. [chap.
she had re-written her French exercise, she remem-
bered how her father had interfered on Sunday, and
sat in the same sullen position for full an hour, in
hopes of his coming in and seeing her, — a futile
hope, as she knew all the time, for he seldom came
in so early, and, if he did, was not Elspeth gardening
outside to intercept him ? Gardening ! — a thing that
had never been thought of here before, which Paulina
hated and despised, but over which Elspgth was
ridiculously eager, actually liking to potter over plants
and seeds, to water annuals, peg down verbenas, and
cut off withered roses, better than to walk in the
Avenue, where at least you saw somebody, and could
have a chance of a little talk !
And there were' Olive and Clare, stupid little
things, trotting round and about her \^th baskets
and little wheelbarrows, as if it were the most
delightful thing in the world.
Persis and Aline were neither of them in sight,
and Paulina grew so restless and curious as to what
had become of them, that at last, as the only way
of getting out, she did finish her exercise, and
brought it out to Elspeth on the lawn.
Elspeth read it over, and said it was better, and
x;] POOR PERSIS, ' ,'99
that Paulina might stay out now and do as she
pleased. She asked where the others were. " They
are gone into the town," said Elspeth ; " Persis had
something to do there, and she took Alie to walk
Paulina could guess what that something was,
but she said nothing, only fetched a story-book,
and lay down on the grass under a tree.
" Pai^a,'* said Elspeth, " I don't think the grass
is dry enough for that."
" Oh yes, it is — quite," growled Paulina.
" And I should have thought it better for you to
be walking or running about after sitting stiU aU
the morning. Suppose you went and got me some
bass from the tool-house ? "
" Fine putting upon ! Tou won't catch me doing
your errands," thought Paulina, as she read on with-
out seeming to hear.
Elspeth stood and looked at the girl a moment,
repressing with difficulty something that was rising
to her lips ; then went to the house, brought back a
carriage-rug, and said in a voice of forced gentleness,
*' I desire you will lie on this."
Never was poor girl so bothered and put upon. She
lOO QUERY. [CHAP.
pitied herself so much for it that she could hardly
go on with her story, though she drove away the
black cat that came up and tried to nestle in her lap,
because its tail came between her and the page.
By and by fresh voices came into the garden,
and Fersis went up to Elspeth, while Paulina rose,
and, meeting Alines dragged her aside, whUe asking
in her peremptory way, " "What in the world have
you been doing in the town?"
'' I only went with Persie," said Aline in a tone
of frightened entreaty.
"And what did Persis go for?"
"She went to the post-office firsts" said Aline,
"I thought sol" muttered Paulina. "And you
haven't got my — any letter for me?" she added
*'N"o," said Aline; "there were no letters at all
for the house, only some for the bank, and Persis
was very muqh disappointed."
" Indeed I how do you know ? "
" Oh, she almost cried then, poor dear Persie.
She said she made sure of getting a letter."
"From whom?" asked Paulina, breathlessly.
" She didn't say," answered Aline. " I said ' Who
x.l POOH PERSIS. lOI
I ^■----11 I I iriBIB_M__LJWI __^
from?* and she didn't seem to hear; then I said
'Who from?' again, and she just gave my hand a
squeeze and said, * Never mind, my little Ali Baba ;
you know nothing about it/"
*' Of course not," said Paulina.
• " Why, Paula, do you ? " And as Paulina nodded
her head knowingly, *' Oh, tell me ! Do ! there's a
''No, no; a baby like you can't understand; I
shan't tell you."
"Did Persis tell you for a secret?" asked Aline,
a little awed.
" Nonsense ! I'm not going to tell you anything
" Then it is very cross of you, and I shan't tell
you a bit more," whined Aline.
" I've heard it aU," said Paulina, contemptuously.
" No, you haven't," said Aline, feeling her power
for a moment.
"Yes, I have," said Paulina, turning away with
the instinct that to make light of the intelligence
was the way to draw it from her younger sister.
" You've not ! you haven't heard how Persie cried
I02 ST. PAUL'S. [chap.
** At church ! "
"Yes, at St Paul's. She asked me if I should
mind, and I didn't ; and we went in, and oh, Paula !
it was such pretty singing, only Persis cried all the
time we were kneeling down."
"Well, Aline," said Paulina severely, "I can't
think how you could do such a thing."
"But indeed I couldn't help seeing, Paula; and
I was so sorry!"
"Nonsense! that wasn't what I meant; it was
going to St. Paul's.*'
" Going to St. Paul's 1 " said the astonished Aline ;
"why, it was going to church."
" What a little silly you are, Aline, not to know
that Papa hates St. Paul's."
Aline's brown eyes opened with wonder, for she
was a much more simple child than Paulina, and
had no notion of dififerences of opinion about
"But it is a church, Paula," she repeated; "and
Persis took me thera"
" That's all you know," said Paulina.
"Paula, what can you mean? Papa won't be
angry with me?"
X.] POOR PERSIS. . 103
"Oh no, I don't supppose he will, with a baby
like you." .
"But with Persis?" entreated Aline, who was
learning to love Persis better than all the world
" Oh, as to that, I don't know," returned Paulina,
a little spitefully ; " most likely he will never
"Persie would tell him if she thought he would
not like it," reiterated Aline ; and as Paulina laughed
as if knowing better, she added: "She says, and
so does Elspeth, if you doubt about a thing, always
teU of it."
"I daresay," said Paulina, "that's what she tells
you ; but wait a little while, and you will see Mrs.
Persis knows how to have contrivances of her
" For shame, Paula ! I won't have you say such
things of Persis ! I'm sure she's good, whoever
else isn't," — and Aline began to cry.
"Paula!" came Elspeth's voice across the lawn,
"You aren't teasing your sister? Aline, what's
" She said — ^she said," sobbed Aline, all the louder
I04 QUITE OPEN, [CHAP.
for Paulina's fierce pinch on the arm to stop her
moiith — " that Persis wasn't good ! and that she had
con — cen — contrivances of her own, and that Papa
would be angry because we had been to St. Paul's."
"Paulina," said Elspeth, "you do not seem to be
in a kind or charitable mood to-day; I wondfer what
is the matter with you?"
" Never mind now, Elsie," said Persis, coming up ;
"I mean to tell Papa where I have been; Paula
need not think I should do anything without."
Persis looked so open and candid that Paulina
felt ashamed, and quite forgot for the time that
she had suspected her sister of anything besides
this expedition to St. Paul's.
And when Mr. Quintall came home and said,
in a pleasant, good-humoured voice, " Well, girls, and
what have you been doing to-day ? " Persis answered :
"Elsie has been gardening, and I walked into
Peterakirk with Aline. I went to the post-office,
and then to St. Paul's. Papa, do you think letters
for the house ever go by mistake to the bank ? "
"Certainly not, Persis; I desire the postmaster
to be careful to keep the bags separate. Do you
think anything is wrong?"
X. ] POOR PERSIS. 105
" There is a London letter that I am rather uneasy
about, but I dare say it will all come right," said
Artful being ! So she had used her anxiety about
her lost letter to divert her father's mind from her
disobedient church-going, while she seemed to con-
fess it. How people were deceived in her, and
how innocent she looked all the time t
QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLK
" Horace ! come and speak to me — out here, where
nobody can hear," called Paulina in a hasty whisper,
as Horace came into the house on the Saturday.
" Eh ! Nothing the matter with the Femii, I
hope," as he followed her upstairs.
" Oh, two of them have died, but that can't be
helped, — and that's not it," said Paulina, climbing
out on the roof.
" Died — the brutes ! What made them go and do
that ? Holloa ! and here are some more that look
uncommonly like it. What have you been doing
to them ? " '
" Nothing — unless Persis hurt them when she was
" Persis indeed I She holds them a pretty sight
OH. XI.] QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE, 107
more tenderly than you do ! More likely you did,
with your great clumsy fingers/'
*'Persis! It is always Persist" said Paulina
" To be sure ! It was as dull as ditch-water before
she came and made it jolly. What ! jealous, Polly ?
Polly peevish ! "
" For shame, Horace ! " sobbed Paulina ; " I'm sure
it's very unkind of you to like a stranger better
than your own sister."
"Persis is my sister."
*' No, she isn't — not like me."
" No, not like you, for she isn't a plague."
" Horace 1" stamping her foot and crying passion-
ately and pitifully; "that's a shame, a cruel,
horrid shame, after all I've done for you."
"Much you've done — ^with Persie and Alie help-
ing you too!"
"I declare," cried Paulina in her vexation, "I
hate the very name of Persis 1 You alwaj^s used to
like me best before she came."
" Yes, I didn't know what was jolly," said Horace,
enjoying, like a teasing boy, her anger and vexa-
" Horace 1 I say," she sobbed, " when you know
lOS PADDOCKSFIELD. [chap.
all, you'll know who is your friend and who is good
" Not yon I Why, you've made all the glasses ring,
and the woolly bear curl himself up! You're
enough to spoil their spinning. Get away, do —
you've upset the hawkmoth's flower-pot."
•'But, Horace," said Paulina, recovering her-
self, "have you had a card from Uncle Proud-
" Then that horrid old Becky has failed me ! "
*' How ?— what do you mean ? "
*' Why, I wrote to ask her to send one of Uncle
Proudfoot's cards for the 20th."
"But I don't want to go to Paddocksfield ; Tve
got all the butterflies there."
" No, but I didn't mean you to go there. Uncle
Proudfoot wasn't to know."
Horace gave a long whistle.
'* You know," said Paulina eagerly, " Elspeth is so
nasty about the Eegatta, that I thought it was the
only chance for you. If you showed Papa the card,
he would never ask any questions, but let you have
the day, and you could join Percy Grafton and his
XI.] QUARRELS ON", THE QUADRANGLE. lOQ
"A pretty sneaking business, I declare/' cried
Horace. ''Just like a girl« to think I'd do such a
dirty thing as that I "
"Horace, you're very cross! — as if I had wanted
you to say one word that wasn't true."
" There's not much odds between doing what isn't
true and saying what isn't true. One is as dirty as
the other, or rather dirtier. Besides, I would as
soon go to Jericho as to Prince's Quay."
" Oh, Horace ! But there is to be a race between
the Quagga and the Petrel^
''I don't care."
"And Percy Grafton is going."
"An overbearing perfumer^s prig — I'd rather go
a dozen miles than anywhere with him ! Besides,
there's something jolly getting up about going to
" A picnic with the Airlie babies," said Paulina
" Ay, but there are silver-washed fritiUaries, and
meadow ringlets ; and I know Elsie has got a jolly
pigeon-pie for it."
"And so," cried Paulina, "after all the trouble
I have taken for you, you like going off like a baby,
with a lot of girls and little ones, to drink tea and
no PROVOCATIOI/. [CHAP.
run after butterflies, when you might be going like a
man to a boat-race with the other boys I I wonder
you haven't more spirit — I do ! "
*' How can you talk such rubbish ? " said Horace,
but in a tone as if she had stung him. ** I do what
I like ! "
"What Elspeth likes, you mean," said Paulina.
*' All the boys will see you, and laugh, and know
how we are all put upon. I won't bear it ; and you
wouldn't if you had the spirit of a mouse."
" But I don't know what you are at, with your
talk of being put upon," said Horace. "I'm sure
the house is much nicer than ever it was before."
" There — there ! that's just what I say ! Nobody
cares for poor dear Mamma but me !" And Paulina
began to cry again, while Horace grew angry in his
turn, and demanded: "Paula, what on earth do
you mean ? / not care ! "
"You said the house was nicer without her."
" Now, can anyone guess what women will be
at?" exclaimed Horace. "As if all a poor fellow
said had not been that it was nicer now than
when poor Mamma was always shut up in her
room, and there was no one to do or say a thing
for a fellow.**
XI.] QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE. 1 1 1
• — - I - -
"Ay, you're all very mucli delighted now," said
Paulina. "You think it aU very fine ; but when you
come home from the holidays, see if they don't put
"1 don't care if they do, if this is the way of
it. I teU you what, Polly, I believe it is just
this : you have had your own way, and now they
are come, and are twice as good as you, you don't
like it; and that's the long and short of the
"Twice as good! We shall see," muttered
Paulina. "I know what I know."
" Good !" — Horace opened his eyes — ^"good ! to be
sure they are good — only too good for you."
"So you think," she said, triumphantly.
"Think! I know: I see."
" See, indeed ! As if they hadn't their secrets,
like other people."
"Well, and they have a right to their secrets!
I tell you what, Paula, if you say another such
word, I'll serve you just as I would a fellow at
Quick's. So hold your tongue, and be off with
you. Elspeth and Persis not good, indeed ! As if I
did not know better than that !"
He was so really angry, and ready to proceed
Ill QUACK COMMON^. [chap.
to violent measures, that Paulina realty durst not
tell him of her discovery and the means of it.
Perhaps the perceiving how he would look at it
was the first thing that made her see she had
done something that might be thought very
shocking; but the immediate effect was to make
her extremely angry, injured, and vexed, that when
she had ventured so much for him, he should have
gone over to the side of the enemy.
Poor injured, put-upon Horace, playing at croquet
with Papa in high glee, and talking everybody to
death about silver-washed firitillaries, while Persis
made his cages of paper and gauze for his cater-
pillars — ^was not he a wretched victim to step-
sisters ! Paulina was doomed to hear of nothing
but the Quack Common picnic all the rest of the
day, and to find everyone surprised that she was
so sUent and sullen about what would naturally
have been such a treat.
She was chiefly sustained by the certainty that
there was something amiss with Persis, who
struggled to be bright with her father and the
children, but drooped whenever she thought she
was not watched, and was pale and red-eyed when
she came down to breakfast on Sunday morning.
XL] QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE, I 13
Her father looked sharply at her, but said nothing,
though they all knew by his ways that he was
vexed. Again, at church, Persis pulled down her
veil, and once or twice seemed to be fighting to
keep back tears, and each time Mr. Quintall per-
ceived it he made a little impatient movement as if
he were vexed. It seems — nay, it is shocking — ^but
Paulina really felt an odd sort of spiteful pleasure in
seeing that it was true that Persis had some secret
grief, and that it was no mere fancy of her own ;
and, likewise, she had a sort of sense of retaliation
in having on her side caused a considerable vexa-
tion to one of the Sisters who were always " putting
upon her." And Paulina had come to believe that
everything she was requested to do — yes, even to
the putting on her gloves, or tidying up the school-
room — was "putting upon:" moreover, that her
sisters never let her alone, and scolded her day
and night. There are moods in which people think
the whole world set against them, and Paulina was
in one of these.
Putting upon had really come to such a pass that
Elspeth went with the children again to the dancing
on Monday, and actually made the engagement for
Paulina to dance with Millicent Airhe, so that she
could only look at Percy Grafton, inhale his mille-
fleurs essence from a distance, and admire his pale
lavender gloves sewn with green. Paulina had no
satisfaction but dancing as badly as possible, with
stiff arms, and feet with no bend in them; and
when she very decidedly got the worst of that, she
believed and she muttered that Millicent Airlie put
her out 1
She did shake hands with Percy Grafton during
the break-up, and that was only disappointment, for
he did not ask about Horace's going on the 20bh,
CHAP. XII. ] POST' OFFICE RE VELA TIONS. 1 1 5
and, when she told him, did not even seem to care
about his defection half so much as about a slit in
his own new gloves.
Millicent's high spirits and schemes about the
picnic were insupportable too, and she was all the
less at rest that Persis had come into town with the
dancing party, and gone off her own way.
It was, however, the next afternoon that Mr.
Quintall came out upon the lawn where the four
elder sisters were at croquet together, and said —
'* Persis, what's this about a letter that youVe been
" I have lost a letter, Papa," said Persis, colouring
" I expected to have had it on Thursday afternoon
or Friday morning."
" This is very strange," said Mr. QuintalL ** I
went into the post-office just now, and the clerk
desired me to tell you that he had been inquiring
after your letter, and found that there had come one
on Thursday afternoon which he gave to Bakewell,
and Bakewell says he gave it to one of the children
who was at the office asking for letters."
1 1 6 THE POST, [CHAP.
"Paulina!" exclaimed Elspeth, "don't go — stand
stilL Thursday was the day you went to Peterskirk
" You did not send her to the post-office alone ! "
" Certainly not ; but I gave her leave to go and
get something, as I thought, at a shop three doors
off, and she was gone much too long a time/' said
Elspeth, looking a good deal startled. " Did you go
to the post-ofHce, Paula ? "
" I won't answer you," cried Paulina, startled into
a state of passionate distress and despair. "Tou
have no business to question me, and — and — ^tum
Papa against me "
" Hush, Paulina ! " said her father sternly; **that
is not the way to speak to your sister. Did you go
to the post-oifice ? "
It had flashed through Paulina's mind that
denial was useless, since the post-office clerks and
Mr. Bakewell could both bring it home to her.
Not having the contrary temptation, she sulkily
" There was no harm in it"
" Did you go ? " repeated her fether.
" Did you have a letter for Persis given to you ? "
" It had ' Miss P. Quintall * on it, and of course
I thought it was for me," said Paulina in a much
" Oh, Paula ! " cried Persis, starting forward, " how
could you forget to give it to me ! Where is it ?
Do let me have it"
Paulina stood stock still, very angry with every-
"Why don't you answer your sister?" said Mr.
QuintalL *' Why did you not give it to her at once ?
Speak ! Don*t you know how disgraceful a thing it is
to tamper with other people's letters ? "
He was so angry now that Paulina could think of
nothing but turning his displeasure into a different
" It wasn't a proper letter for Persis to have," she
" Paulina, do you know what you are saying ? "
thundered her father.
" Paulina, are you gone out of your senses ? "
Persis looked on in blank amazement, too much
thunderstruck for a word.
1 1 8 PA ULJNA 'S PROPRIETY. [chap.
"What do you mean?" repeated Mr. QuintalL
" Not a proper letter I What do you mean by that ? "
" A love-letter," came out from between Paulina's
lips, as she hung her head, frightened at the wrath
she had provoked.
She was surprised that Elspeth and Persis both
burst out laughing.
" Papa," cried Elspeth, " the child does not know
what she is talking about I "
" T never had a love-letter in my life ; there's no
one to write one to me," asseverated Persis, looking
up in his face with her innocent eyes. "Paulina
must have made some ridiculous mistake."
" Upon my word, that's more likely, child," said
Mr. Quintall ; " that is, if it be the letter you ex-
"Please look at it — whatever it is. Eead every
word of it," entreated Persis.
"Fetch it, Paulina," said her father.
"I can't," she growled.
"Can't! Have you torn it up?"
" But the pieces, Paulina, where are they ? " en-
treated Persis ; " thrown away — ^where ? "
XII.] POST-OFFICE REVELA TIONS. 1 1 9
" I remember," exclaimed Elspeth, " I saw Paulina
poking something into the hole in the rocking-
horse. It was on Friday morning. Depend upon it
that is what she did with it."
" The hole in the rocking-horse ! " said the asto-
nished Mr. QuintalL
" Yes," said Elspeth ; " they always put things
there they wish to lose."
"I'll have it looked into. I don't know what
to believe. I thought I had got to the end of
all double dealing. I can't understand a bit of
it," said Mr. Quintall, sadly; and Elspeth at least
understood something of the tone of pain, for she
had suspected more than once that he had been
grieved by a little want of straightforwardness in
his secoud wife. " Here is Paulina running off
underhand to the post, and opening other people's
letters ! "
"That might be an accident," said kind Persis.
"Her going off to the post-office unknown to
Elspeth was not," said Mr. Quintall. "Paulina,
I insist on knowing what you were about. Tou
have accused other people, but that does not clear
you. If it be as I believe, you have invented a
1 20 QC/f EST Q. [CHAVL
slander against your sister, of which yon do not
know the cruelty/'
•Tm sure/' broke out Pauliua, "it is a love-
letter! Get it out of the rocking-horse and
read it I *
" That shall certainly be done/' said Mr. Quintall.
" Elspeth, is it possible that this may be some im-
pertinent stranger's letter? From whom was it,
"Kenneth Urquhart/' said Paulina glibly.
"Kenneth Urquhart!" repeated Persis; "that's
the very letter ! "
"But what is the child talking about?" said
Elspeth. " He has a wife and five children,"
"He is not the only Kenneth Urquhart/' said
Paulina, half exulting, half defending herself.
" No, there's his little boy of seven years old ! "
said Elspeth. "Papa, I think little Kenny might
have written Persie a play-letter that Paula took
"Oh yes," said Persis eagerly, glad to acquit
Paulina of such exceeding unkindness ; ** I can quite
fancy that. Please don't be angry with her."
"Stay, Persis, I have not got to the bottom of
XII.] POST' OFFICE RE VELA TIONS, 1 2 I
it yet. If Paulina did make so absurd a mistake
in good faith, she ought either to have brought
the letter to me or to you, instead of suppress-
"I suppose she thought that would be kind to
me," said Persis.
Paulina really began to think that the storm
was after all diverted from herself to curiosity
about the letter, and perhaps her sisters would
have let it be so, but Mr. Quintall came back to
"How came she to meddle with the letter at
all ? What made you go inquiring for one,
"I thought I should get one."
"From whom?" Mr. Quintall had to repeat
the question several times before he elicited —
" From Uncle Proudfoot's Becky." And then she
took refuge in a great burst of tears. Mr. Quintall
began to walk backwards and forwards and say
there was some mystery in all this, and he could
not make out girls ; daughters were enough to drive
Elspeth, who had more conmiand of herself than
122 QUESTIONING, [chap.
anyone else just then, went up to him, and touching
his arm, said gently, "Dear Papa, don't you think
that Paulina might speak out better if she were
alone with you?"
"You take her, Elspeth; I don't know what to
make of her."
"I think," said Elspeth, in a low, persuasive
voice, " it may be better for you to speak to her ;
I am beginning to think she has made some great
mistake about us, that she cannot speak out freely
Paulina, who could not hear this, fancied of
course that Elspeth was inciting her father to
punish her, and was very much startled when he,
speaking roughly, out of his vexation and dislike
to the business, called her into his study.
"Paulina, what is the meaning of all this?" he
gravely asked, when he had seated himself, and
she stood before him, sobbing.
" The letter was directed to me," she said, laying
hold of the most defensible point.
"That is nothing to the purpose. What I desire
to understand is, what are the extraordinary machi-
nations that I find going on in my family?"
ra.1 POST-OFFICE REVELA TIONS, 1 2 3
She made no answer, and he changed the form
of the question —
"You say you expected a letter from Becky
Saunders. Had you written to her?"
Paulina did not quite say Yes, but it came to
the same thing.
"What could you write to her about? I desire
to know. Speak ! I shall go over to find out from
So conjured, Paulina did speak: "I wanted a
card for Horace."
"What do you mean by a card?"
"One of Uncle Proudfoot's cards."
" Why couldn't you ask for one openly ? Am
I to understand that you and Horace are in the
habit of intriguing with your uncle's servants to
"Oh no, no — ^not Horace I He had nothing to do
with it — nothing I " cried Paulina, wakened from her
sulky trance to defend him.
"How do I know? I can't trust your word for
anything I I shall go over to Paddocksfield and find
out what has been going on."
"Oh, please. Papa, don't let Horace get into the
124 ^^^ UPON. [CHAP.
scrape, and I'll tell you all about it; and you'll
see he knew nothing about it, and didn't want it
either," said Paulina, quite changed now she had
her innocent brother instead of her guilty self to
defend. "It was all my sister's fault," she began,
however, to his amazement. "Elspeth would not
let Horace go to the Eegatta on Thursday, and he
has always been, and it was too bad of her! Dear
Mamma always let him go."
"But," said Mr. Quintall, interrupting the tones
of wrath in which she spoke, "I thought Elspeth
had arranged some safer and more becoming party
of pleasure as compensation."
"A stupid thing! I thought Horace would not
like it," said Paulina.
" Or Horace did not like it ? "
" Yes, but he did ; he did really I' protested Paulina,
getting more and more dismayed as she saw her
own shuffling made her father disbelieve what she
said of her brother. " It was 1 1 — I could not bear
for him to be put upon."
" Put upon, by being kindly guarded from temp-
tation ! "
"He always had gone, and it never hurt him
XII.] POST- OFFICE RE VELA TIONS. 12 5
and the boys would hare laughed at him," said
"Passing that by, I do not see now how your
Uncle Proudfoot's invitation to Paddocksfield was
to take him to this Eegatta"
Paulina did begin now to feel very much ashamed
as she said, " Uncle Proudfoot wasn't to know."
"You mean, then, that his servant was to take
one of his cards without his knowledge, and send
it here, that Horace might, on a false pretext, join
Paulina could only mutter, " Because Elspeth wa*
"Poor child !" and her father's deep sigh startled
her: "she does not seem to understand the
shame and disgrace of such conduct. Then it
was in the expectation of this card that you
stole away from your sister and opened Persis'
"I would have given it back if I had not torn
it," said Paulina ; " and when I began to read it, I
thought it was to me."
"How was that possible?"
" It began with ' My dear Child,* and I thought,
1 26 QUELLED, [chap. xii.
perhaps, Uncle Proudfoot had found out. But, Papa,
indeed it was a love-letter.**
"Nonsense, child; you don't know what a love-
letter is. Well, I can't say how much truth there is
in what you say," he sighed ; "it is bad enough, any
way. Go up to your room now ; I can't have you
about this evening."
" Only, Papa," said Paulina, lingering, " it wasn't
"Did he know of it?"
And then Paulina told her first direct falsehood
in the matter, for she said "No;" and as she saw
her father look really pleased, she went up to her
room, thinking that at any rate Horace had not
known of her manoeuvres before, only after; but
she was too miserdble to sleep properly, and tossed
about amid unhappy dreams and wakiug fears
throughout the night and the weary long light
QUARTERING THE ROCKING-EORSE.
Mr. Quintall conld not rest till he had come to
some understanding of the affair. Instead of going
to the bank the first thing after breakfast, he sent
for a carpenter, and desired him to open the rocking-
All the family stood round with as much curiosity
as wonder, except poor little Clar^, who ran away to
Susan in an agony of crying, as if it had been a live
horse that was to be cut in two ; and not half be-
lieving the assurances that dear old Gee-gee would
be as well as ever in the evening.
The first thing that came to light when the upper
part of the poor dappled grey was severed from the
lower was a mouse's nest, explaining the wonderful
mousey smell that had for some little time been
128 PIECING TOGETHER, [chap.
lemarked in the passage. Olive s plan of feeding
Gee-gee upon crusts must have been appreciated by
the mouse family. Amongst dust and crumbs and
*' sloven's fur" almost enough to make a tippet, came
forth five slate-pencils, two lead-pencils, one knife,
one piece of india-rubber, one female member of
Noah's family and one of his beetles, besides a
number of scraps of paper, upon which Elspeth and
Persis immediately threw themselves, picking out
those which bore Mr. Urquhart's handwriting, and
piecing them together. It turned out that Paulina's
hurried midnight tearing had not been into very
minute pieces ; it had done little more than quarter
them, so that it was not difficult to put them together
Mr. Quintall had not said a word to Persis about
the letter; he had even said he only caused the
search to be made to satisfy himself about Paulina's
truth, and for the same reason he had ordered his
horse, to ride to Paddocksfield and examine Becky.
He did not attempt to look at the fragments, or ask
any questions about them; but Persis, so soon as
she had arranged them legibly, came up to him, and
said, with hotly glowing cheeks —
xm.] QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE. 129
"Father, please read this."
"Do you really wish it, Persis?" he said, and
Paulina felt half jealous of the manner, " You undeiv
stand that at your age your correspondence is per-
fectly free, and that I should never think again of
that child's accusation — only not scandalous because
it is so foolish and impossible."
"Please read it, Papa," repeated Persis; and
Paulina, for all her troubles, raised her head with
eagerness and suspense ; so amazed was she that the
letter could be even supposed to be anything but
what she had thought it.
"From Mr. Urquhart?" asked her father.
"Yes, Papa," said Persis, "and perhaps I had
better tell you first ; for I am not sure now whether
I ought not to have done so before ; you know Mr.
Urquhart prepared us for Confirmation, and he told
us, whenever we could, to go to the Holy Com-
munion early. So when you forbade us" — (Mr.
QuintaU was looking displeased now, and the tears
stood in Persis' eyes, and her voice quivered) — ^"we
were very much puzzled what was right to do ; for
indeed we — at least I— don't know how to be any
way good without strength and help, always. So I
I30 PERSIST CONFESSION. [chap.
^rote— perhaps I ouglit to have told you first — ^to
as^ Mr. TJrquhart what was the right thing to do,
and this is his answer."
So this was what Paulina had taken for love-
making! The colour rushed into her £eu3e at her
own exceeding foolishness, and she would have been
ready to run out of the room with shame and dismay
if she had not perceived that her father was not
''Hml I think young ladies might put their fathers
" But he could not be a stranger to us. Papa," said
Persis ; *' he taught us long ago."
*' Well, ha ! that's some excuse; let us see '*
Paulina wished he would have read aloud, so that
she might have had her difficulties cleared up; but
instead of this, he only said, "Must I read it? A
horrid bad hand he writes, this adviser of yours. —
Good and sensible, that ! — ^Why, Persie, girl, did it go
so very deep with you ? Tou might have told me,
child, though, after alL — Hm I ha ! he seems a good,
right-minded man, not at all disposed to stir up strife
between father and child. — ^Patience, influence — **
(Influence ; that must have been Paulina's "fleece"—
XIII.] QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE, 1 3 1
her "Golden Fleece") — ^"There, my dear, I am glad you
showed it to me ; it puts your friend in a fresh light
to me, and I suppose you must do as you please *
**0h, Papa!" and the colour came into Persie's
face, and she clasped her hands — "thank you !" And
Elspeth fervently echoed, " Thank you, father ! "
" WeU, say no more about it now ; any how, I see
you gave up something to come home and help me,
my girls, and I don't want to make it harder to you ;
only have it all out with me next time, if I cross
'* I will. Papa ; I will not be afraid again." And
Persis ventured to bend down and kiss him.
Paulina had never thought of such a thing as that,
and was amazed to see him put up his arm and hold
her down, and return the kiss, saying, as he did so,
" You are very like your mother, Persie."
Then Paulina felt a fierce pang of jealousy.
" Stay a moment," said her father, as Persis was
going; "when does Horace come home?"
•*To breakfast, to-morrow."
" I shall leave speaking to him till then. I am
going over to Paddocksfield now."
A kind of despair seized Paulina at the thought
132 PUNISHMENT, [chap.
of what Uncle Proudfoot would say to the use she
had intended to make of his servant and his cards.
Elspeth spoke, however: "Don't you think you
could speak to this old housekeeper apart; I don't
imagine Mr; Proudfoot knows anything about it."
" Most likely not. I should be ashamed that he
should. Shall I drive you there, Elsie ? "
" No, thank you, Papa ; I think you will get on
better without me," said Elspeth, feeling that other-
wise Paulina might never think his judgment im-
" Very well ; only mind, you need not get ready
for this picnic business. I can't have pleasurings
whne an affair like this is going on."
Aline gave a start of horror and dismay, and
Elspeth said —
*' Is not that rather hard on the innocent ? **
''How do I know who is innocent? I believe
Horace is at the bottom of it all the while."
" Indeed, Papa," said Elspeth, eagerly, " I do not
think so. I don't think Horace cares about anv-
thing but butterflies, and his head is full of the
silver-washed fritillaries on Quack Common. He
really prefers it."
XIII.] QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE, 1 33
"So you think, Elsie — ^you are a good girl, and
never were used to slippery ways; but nothing
shall ever make me believe that the girl there got
up such a plot without being egged on by her
" I did ! I did, Papa ! " cried Paulina, darting
forward again, " Horace knew nothing about it.
Oh, punish me as much as you please, but don't
believe horrid things about Horace. He didn't want
to go. He was angry with me for it."
"There now, Paulina, last night you told me he
knew nothing about it ! That's the way with you
all — anything to shield your brother. I only hope
I may get the truth out of him, any way."
And Mr. Quintall went off, leaving Paulina crying
now as she had never cried before.
"Oh, Elsie, Elsie, what shall I do! Indeed,
indeed, Horace had nothing to do with it."
"No, Paula, I cannot believe he had," said
Elspeth ; " but if you have not spoken the perfect
truth, it will be very hard to convince Papa."
* I did speak truth. He did not ask me to do
it," sobbed Paula; "he did not want me to do
it ; he knew nothing till it was all dene, and then
1 34 ^^^^- [CHAP.
I thought Becky might have been stupid and sent
him the* card, so I told him, and he was very angry
"But you told Papa he did not know!"
" Oh, Elsie, don't you see, in that sense ; and I
didn't tell one other fib in the whole."
"I do see, Paula, *in that sense,' as you call
it; but it was a great pity you did not explain
"I was so frightened! and I only thought how
to get Horace out of the scrape ! And now I have
made it worse than ever!"
Poor Paulina was crying so bitterly and sobbed
so violently, that Persis looked at Elspeth quite
frightened ; and Elspeth said—
"Poor child! she is quite worn out. Lie down
here, Paula," — making a place on the sofa. " I dare
say you did not sleep all night."
Paula sobbed out "No," while Persis laid her
down, and presently Elspeth brought her some sal-
volatile. She was dimly conscious that they were
both a great deal kinder to her than she in the
least expected or deserved; but she was tired out
with her misery, and could not think about it, and
xiil] quartering the rocking-horse. 135
SO she fell asleep. When she awoke partially, it
was to hear their voices.
''I can't help hoping that after all this is the
beginning of better things."
** I can't help hoping everjrthing in the joy your
letter has won us/' said Elspetlu
"Did people really care about Church and Holy
Communion as much as all that J " thought Paulina.
" How very kind Papa was 1 " added Persis. *' And
oh, what a helpful letter it was. I wonder what
put the fancy into Aer head, poor child 1"
And then both sisters indulged in a hearty, noise-
less laugh. If Paulina had been as honourable as
they were, she would have shown herself to be
awake, but she had not learnt as yet all the lessons
she ought to learn, — ^and she lay stilL
"I am sure we are both very much indebted to
her," said Elspeth. "I only trust good may come
out of the present trouble."
"If Papa can only acquit poor Horace!" said
Persis. " I have great hopes that the dear boy's own
open-faced manner will convince him."
**I am sure it ought," said ElspetL "Dear
Horace I I do think the most hopeful part about
1 36 PAST PREJUDICE. [chap, xin .
all this terrible affair is that «Ae is more distressed
for his sake than her own."
^ There was nothing selfish in it from first to
last," said Persis, warmly.
'' I am not so sure of that* There was some self-
deceit It was the spirit of opposition to me."
" How did Elspeth know so well," thought Paulina.
** I am sure no one could have been kinder 1 " cried
"No one coidd hare meant to be kinder, but I
never knew how difficult it would be to do right
and yet seem kind. Poor children! I have often
been sorry for them, and have feared things seemed
to be done for the sake of change and tyranny, when
they really could not be helped."
There Paulina dropped off to sleep again, but with
a very different feeling in her mind as to being
POISONING A HOLIDAY.
Mr. Quintall did not come home till quite late.
Mr. Proudfoot had insisted on his staying to dinner,
and Hspeth was obliged to send Paulina to bed
before he came home, promising to come and tell
her what he said about Becky.
The girl was so tired out, however, that she was
fast asleep when her sisters looked in at her, and »
it was not till the morning that she knew the fate
of her letter.
Becky Saunders was no great reader, and she
had kept the letter for her young niece to read to
her after church on Sunday. And the niece had,
after spelling it out with difficulty, brought her to
the conclusion that "the young gentleman wanted
to go out a pleasuring unknownst to his Pa," which
1 58 PASSIVENESS THE BEST POLICY. [ohap.
Becky rightly hdd to be very dangerous; besides,
how was she ever to go for to do such a thing as
to take one of her master's cards without his know-
ledge ! So Becky had made up her mind to take
no notice ; it was just a fancy of the young ladies
and gentlemen that they would soon forget, if she
let it blow over, and be glad she had done so.
Sensible old servants often do put a stop to follies
in that way, by taking no notice.
Becky was much afraid of bringing the dear
children into trouble, but when questioned she had
told all that she knew. She had in her real good-
nature destroyed the letter ; and as the kitchen fire
had done so more effectually than the rocking-horse,
she could not produce it; and this was unlucky, as
it would have done something towards clearing
Poor Horace ! it was a different holiday from what
he expected when he came home with his sunny
face and his butterfly net on that summer morning,
expecting his picnic and butterflies innumerable. He
was at once met and called by a stem voice into his
father's study ; and what passed there no one knew,
— ^while his sisters waited outside in great distress.
XIV.] POISONING A HOLIDA V. 1 39
At last Horace came out, looking glum and fierce,
and turning to Paulina, said —
" rU thank you not to meddle in my affairs again !
A pretty mess youVe got me into, this time."
"Horace, dear, you "
"None of your dears — making my father not
believe a word I say."
And as his father^s step was heard following, he
flung out of the room by the windows, unable to
meet him. Paulina durst not go after him — she
who had comforted him in all his scrapes before.
"As I thought, Elspeth," said Mr. Quintall,
coming in, " the boy was cognizant of this scheme.
I was sure the girl would never have got it up unless
it was instigated."
" Papa ! Papa ! " Paulina almost screamed, in her
dismay and despair.
•* Silence, Paulina ! — it is of no use to listen to
Elspeth rose up now. " Papa, I believe she tells
"What!" interrupted Mr. Quintall, "when one
minute she teUs me he did not know, and he teUs
me himself that he did ! "
140 PRESENT PREJUDICE. [chap.
*'She has explained ^" b^an Elspeth.
''Explained! — explained! — ^that's the way with
women I Yon do the boy no good by letting him
hoodwink you, Elspeth. You are not weak to your
sisters, why should you be so to him?"
'^ I am trying not to be weak, but to stand up for
what I believe to be the right," said Elspeth. " I
believe what Paulina tells me, that Horace never
wanted to go to Prince's Quay, but that she, fancying
I was unkind in preventing him, concocted this plan
without his knowledge. Yes — she only told him of
it last Saturday, when all her measures had been
taken, and then he was very properly angry with
her; but I am quite sure you would not have
thought better of him for betraying her. Has he
said anything inconsistent with that ? "
"Why, no — not if I can believe anything."
** Then do believe this, Papa dear, for I am sure
it is the trutL No one can look at Horace a moment
and think he would wilfully deceive."
" Little you know about boys, Elspeth. However,
nothing, as you say, is proved against him, so I am
content to leave it as it is. I shall say no more
about it, and you may tell him so."
XIV.] POISONING A HOLIDAY, 141
With which Persia stole out to seek Horace in
the garden 'in vain, and continue her search upstairs
to his own room, and Palmer Worm Park, where
she found him squatted down among his flower-
pots, dull and gloomy, resisting all the caresses that
little Aline tried to lavish on him, — driving her
back, sometimes with a growl, sometimes, it may
be feared, with a kick ; but she was a loving little
thing, and returned, after every rebuff, to fawn on
him like a faithful dog.
It was the first time his father had ever doubted
his word, and it was very sore to him. When Persis
came he only turned the more away, and tried to
shake off her soft hand as Paulina had onee done.
" Dear Horace, I came to tell you Papa does not
mean to be angry any more."
" Does he believe me ? " The boy looked up eagerly,
and as Persis hesitated —
" There, you see how it is ! What an abominable
thing it is to have a sister ! "
" Oh Horace, don't," entreated Aline.
*' Get away, do : you are all one as bad as the
Persis laughed her little sweet laugh.
141 PERSUASION, [CHAP.
"Not quite, Horace," she said. "Come, I do
not wonder tliat you are exceedingly vexed and
" Such an abominable trick to have played me ! "
he went on.
" She meant it for kindness."
" As if that did me any good. All those silver-
washed running to destruction for want of some one
to catch them — and my new net and alL And my
father thinking me no end of a brute ! Oh, Persie I
isn't it enough to drive a fellow out of his senses ? "
" I really think it is, almost," said Persis. ^* Paula
almost cried herself ill about it yesterday."
"I should hope so! You standing up for her,
Persie, of all people in the world, when she went
and begged your letters, and told all manner of
spiteful fibs about them."
" That was all her mistake."
" Nice mistake 1 I declare I would as soon have
a nest of vipers in the house."
*' I think nothing wiU be so likely to cure her as
" If not, there will be no living in the house with
her. T shan't speak to her, nor let her touch any-
XIV.] POISONING A HOLIDA Y. 1 43
^M I _ _ ■ -M_i M.^^m ■ _■_ _ ■■■■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ - "*~ —' ~~ • •
thing of mine, I can tell her. I shouldn't wonder
if her meddling made the Pemii die ! "
" Hardly that ; she has been very careful. And,
Horace, I think the best sign of aU is, that she
giieves for having brought you into trouble more
than for herself
" Well, she may," quoth Horace, " I never asked
her ; and now she has been and poisoned my holi-
day, and, what's worse, my father's mind."
**Papa will soon get over that," said Persis.
''Nobody can suspect a really true and upright
" But I shall never now be able to say he never
suspected me at all. Oh, Persie, that he should
think I could plot against him and tell him lies,
and be a horrid mean sham I "
The boy burst into a flood of tears, feeling it a
great deal more deeply than Persis had thought was
in his light gay nature. There, on that queer quad-
rangle between the roofs, among the caterpillars, he
leant against her as she sat on a low stool, and cried
bitterly; and Paulina, lingering about the bedroom
door, heard, and was cut to the heart.
But Horace was all the better for the crying ; and
144 QUEER PETS. . [chap.
when he did look up again, he had relieved him-
self, so that he could bear it; and when he had
looked about a little, he saw that two silkworms
of the real old kind had actually spun, and must
be wound. And Persis was so glad to see him
consoled in any way, that she gladly gave the rest
of the morning to nothing but the winding of
silk : and it was done so successfully, that Horace,
when summoned to dinner, declared that, ''con-
sidering all things, it was a good thing that the
sensible people in the family should have stayed
at home to attend to anything so important."
Moreover, he entirely forgot that he had intended
to treat Paulina like a nest of vipers, but he called
her Polly just as usual, or more kindly as he saw
her unhappy ; and was so bright and good-natured,
that Elspeth feared she would lose the impression
tiiat had been made.
But Paulina's disposition was very diflFerent from
her brother's. Things went deeper with her, and his
kindness, after the injury she had done him, only
made her pain the greater. She felt there was some-
thing she could never forget in the way both he
and Persis treated her.
Elspeth thought the kindest thing to do would be
to take Horace out for a long walk that afternoon ;
and though it looked much hotter than was pleasant,
she offered to go with him to a down where some
one was reported once to have seen a painted lady
of the woods.
It was too far for Aline, and Paulina was not well
enough, so Persis stayed at home with them, and
only Olive, whose sturdy legs nothing ever seemed
to tire, went off with the walkers.
Just as they were coming home with a poor
painted lady waiting in a pill-box for the laurel
leaves that were to end her pretty fluttering life,
they saw a cab driving at full speed towards the
station, and Olive declared that she saw Mrs. Grafton
146 THE PLEASURE PARTY. [chap.
in it, — Mrs. Grafton, who never was known to leave
her own fireside. They all laughed at the little girl's
But as they reached their own gates footsore and
dusty, but with their hands full of flowers and their
hearts full of cheerfulness, they saw Mr. Quintall
coming quickly up from the end of the road.
Horace, remembering the morning in one sudden
thrill of shame, would hardly have waited for his
coming but for a sign he made to them. The first
thing he did was to lay his hand on Horace's
shoulder, and exclaim, in a husky, agitated voice —
" My boy ! my boy '*
Horace fancied it was displeasure at first, and
started ; but Elspeth knew better.
"What is it? Is anything the matter?" she
*' Matter — ^yes, Elsie ; those unhappy boys. Too
much wine, it is believed. Took a boat — mis-
managed — ran foul of the quay "
" Poor young Davies ; not sure of the others when
they telegraphed. Percy Grafton alive, but an arm
broken. They came into the bank to tell me, fancy-
XV.] THE QUAY. 1 47
ing my boy must have been among them, and it
crossed me whether he had really gone, after I had
stung him with suspicion, I scarcely durst come
home to look : " and he wiped his brow and gasped,
as he held Horace safe by the shoulder. The boy
was pale enough.
" I was very near going," he said, in a low awe-
struck voice; "I was in such a rage I should, if
Persie hadn't come up and " but there again
Horace broke down in tears as he strove to ask,
"Charlie — Charlie HiU — ^was he there?'
"CharUe Hill— the HiUs never go."
"Ah, but he said he wouldn't be badgered any
more. It's all their faulty they bored him so at
" Poor things ! " said Mr. QuintalL " Horace, we
do both owe unspeakably much to these sisters of
yours. I am sorry I spoke hastily to you this
morning, my boy; I heard afterwards that you had
steadily refused to join the party this year. I will
never doubt your word again, Horace, unless you
give me cause to do so. I beg your pardon now."
Horace looked up in wonder as his father held out
his hand and clasped his tight, not so much in
148 PREVENTED IN TIME, [chap.
reconciliation as in the joy of feeling it warm,
strong, and healtlifnL But the boy's heart was very
sore for his schoolfellows, and he counted over the
names in great anxiety, for it was pretty well known
in the school who were going to the regatta, who
had free leave, and who had extorted it.
It was Panlina, however, who felt it the most.
When they came into the house, they found her
as white as a sheet waiting for tidings. Nobody
said to her, "Suppose your plan had succeeded?"
But perhaps she felt it the more because no one
did. How would she have felt at that moment ?
She began to understand the real kindness of the
sisters in not roughly forbidding, as Mrs. HiU did,
but striving to give a pleasure in lieu of that they
wished to prevent, — ^the sisters she had thought so
Horace could not stay at home ; he must go up to
the station to hear what tidings came in, and his
father somehow could not bear to have him out of
sight, so they went together while Paulina lay on the
sofa with her hand in that of Persis, too anxious to
speak, but listening for every sound. How much
more terrible that listening might have been!
XV.] THE QUAY, 1 49
It was not for more than an hour that the father
and son came back. Then it was with better news.
Nobody had been actually drowned. All had been
restored, with diligent care, though Percy Grafton's
arm was broken, and he, and one or two more, were
not in a fit state to be brought home.
The accident seemed to have been caused by the
boys' own carelessness and Percy Grafton's conceit.
They had lunched at a hotel by the waterside, and
had taken enough liquor of various kinds to make
them all the more boastful and unsteady. They
refused all advice and caution from the boatmen,
and no wonder that the consequence was that even
in pushiug ofif from the qnay the boat had been upset.
It was true that all had been rescued, but it had
been the nearest and narrowest of escapes, and such
revelations had been made of the perils the boys
underwent, and, far worse, the company they ran
into at these regatta parties, that every one in the
town resolved more firmly than ever that the boys
should never again be allowed. to go without some
safe person to look after them.
And Paulina herself began to understand that
''putting upon another'' might sometimes mean